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New Instructions: Israelis Urged to Seal Underground Shelters

February 10, 1991

JERUSALEM (AP) _ The army modified civil defense instructions Sunday by recommending that Israelis seal underground shelters and use them in certain cases during an air raid.

Israelis had been urged to take shelter in above-ground rooms sealed airtight and to wear gas masks in case of an Iraqi chemical attack. They had been told that the danger was greater below ground because the poison gas would settle.

Army officials noted that precautions for a possible chemical attack remained in force, including the donning of masks.

But the civil defense commander, Brig. Gen. Uri Manos, said he also recommended that ″whoever has a shelter (beneath) his home, to seal it,″ and use it when a siren wails.

Speaking on Israel television, Manos cautioned that residents in buildings without built-in basement shelters should avoid running outside if a siren sounds and hide in a sealed room in their homes instead.

He also said basement shelters should only be sought for refuge if they were reachable within three minutes.

In Iraq’s latest Scud missile attack, early Saturday in the greater Tel Aviv area, some 500 apartments were damaged and 26 people wounded.

The 31 Scuds fired at Israel since Jan. 18 have contained conventional warheads. They have destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes, while killing two people and wounding 300.

Israel television said more injuries were apparently averted because many residents sought refuge in underground shelters rather than in their apartments.

Also Sunday, Interior Minister Arye Deri announced that daylight savings time will begin March 9, with clocks set ahead one hour. Normally, the extra daylight period begins March 30.

Israel television said the decision was an attempt to energize a flagging economy.

The extra hour of daylight may convince Israelis to put in a full day of work after weeks of scurrying home to reach cover before dark. Most of Iraq’s missile attacks on Israel have come at night.

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