Tel Aviv Plans Massive Bomb Shelter

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TEL AVIV, Israel - The Tel Aviv municipality plans to build a four-story bomb shelter for its residents.

The shelter, to be built under a new theater, will hold up to 1,600 people and includes a large underground garage, which though not fortified will provide more protection than being outdoors during an attack.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said other cities should consider building a similar structure.

In a related matter, a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip exploded along the Ashkelon coast hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asked Damascus-based Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal to reign in rocket attacks on Israel.

Speaking by phone on Wednesday, Larov briefed Meshaal on last week's meeting of the Quartet (United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia), according to Russian media reporting on the long-distance meeting.

Larov also urged the Hamas chief to reconcile with the Palestinian Authority's Fatah faction with a view to forming a unity government.

In June 2007, PA President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the three-month-old unity government after Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in a bloody military coup.

Efforts by Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, among other neighboring Arab countries, to convince the two Palestinian factions to reconcile have been unsuccessful.

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Haaretz contributed to this report.

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