Israel begins distribution of biochemical warfare protection kits

The distribution of kits to protect against biochemical warfare has begun in Israel, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Yahoo News, noting that the distribution is not linked to any imminent threat.

"We have equipped ourselves with millions of protection kits against biological or chemical warfare, and a massive distribution program for the population started today," Yahoo News reported Vilnai as saying.

"Every family in Israel can receive these kits at home and be instructed on how to use them by Israeli postal workers, at an average cost of 25 shekels (five dollars), or pick them up free of charge at post office counters."

Eight million new gas masks, enough for each Israeli citizen to have one mask, will be completed by 2013 following a January 5 decision by the Israeli government. Seventy thousand residents of Or Yehuda, near Tel Aviv, received their masks in February.

The distribution of the defense kits follows a recent quote to the Islamic republic's Fars news agency by an aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khomenei that the country would use missiles to attack Tel Aviv if the nation comes under attack.

"If the enemy takes its chance and fires a missile towards Iran, the dust from an Iranian missile strike will rise in the heart of Tel Aviv even before the dust from the enemy attack settles" in Iran, cleric Mojtaba Zolnoor told the news agency.