* Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi voiced his firm opposition to a strike in Iran on Thursday:
"There is a sense that someone will pull out a suitcase from some shelf tomorrow morning and we'll find ourselves with an Iranian atom bomb. I think we're not at that point yet," he said at conference of the Council for Peace and Security.
* Meanwhile, it was also reported that tensions mount between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peresever since the latter came out against an Israeli strike in Iran without US backing.
In closed talks, the president added that the prime minister and defense minister are behaving irresponsibly.
The prime minister's bureau fiercely slammed the president in response, which served to deepen the crisis.
Peres took particular offence at being accused of the death of more than 1,000 Israelis as a result of the Oslo Accords. Consequently, the two leaders have not met for two weeks and apparently have not spoken on the phone either.
* 'Lebanese home front virtually defenseless'- The residents of southern Lebanon are worried. Should the brewing winds of war between Iran and Israel escalate to an actual conflict, they are likely to be caught in the middle – literally.
Israel is investing in its home front readiness, but the residents of southern Lebanon have but a mere fraction of the civilian defenses available to Israelis.
Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, published a feature about the Lebanese home front's readiness for a possible regional conflict. The conclusion was expressed in a poignant headline: "Southern Lebanon can look to Allah for shelter in case of war."
"Where is Lebanon's emergency contingency? Where are the preparations of Southern Lebanon's residents?" the article wonders.
The newspaper stated that while the Lebanese people "are not afraid of war or of dying," more needs to be done vis-à-vis "The war that the Israeli enemy keeps hinting to."
The paper noted that many of the southern Lebanese fatalities during the Second Lebanon War were preventable, as many gathered on the ground floors of their buildings – sans bomb shelters – often with disastrous results.
"The Lebanese people and the resistance won the Second Lebanon War and more beautiful buildings took the place of those bombed" the paper encouraged its readers, while admitting that the new homes are no safer than their predecessors.
Engineer Sharif Bitar, head of the Tyre Planning Committee, told Al-Akhbar that "Shelters are useless given the new and advanced missiles that can penetrate through dozens of meters."
He further warned that in the event of a massive air strike, the shelters may become mass graves; adding that Lebanon lacks the funds to build state-of-the-art shelters that can withstand massive impact.
"You can't compare the measures taken in Israel to those taken by the residents of southern Lebanon," he said. "The State is responsible for building shelters, clearing debris and making sure medical supplies go through."
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