New State-of-the-Art Bomb Shelters in Tel Aviv

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- With an estimated 200,000 missiles aimed at Israel, the new bomb shelter underneath the Habima national theatre in Tel Aviv is setting a standard for the rest of the country.

Four stories below the theatre, Tel Aviv residents will be safe from incoming missiles - those that aren't blown up en route by one of Israel's missile defense systems.

The state-of-the-art facility, which doubles as the theater's parking lot, can be turned into a bomb shelter in record time. Residents access the staircase to the shelter via automatic doors built into the pavement outside the theater. 

The shelter is part of the municipality's network of facilities to protect its residents during wartime.

The underground parking lot for the city's Sourasky Medical Center can be converted to a 1,000-bed emergency facility, with state-of-the-art equipment, including an operating room.

Tel Aviv city councilman Moshe Tiomkin predicted the city would be bombarded by missiles should Israel launch a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The last major missile assault on Tel Aviv took place during the Iraqi war in 1991.

"I believe this time we are not talking about 40 rockets. It would be far, far more," Tiomkin said.

Roi Flyshman, spokesman for the country's civil defense ministry, said the Habima shelter serves as a model for other cities.

"A lot of parking lots in the country can become shelters, and we want to copy from Habima to other places," Flyshman said.


Yisrael Hayom contributed to this report.

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