Israeli army reservists get holiday emergency call up by accident

Israeli soldiers attend a Remembrance Day ceremony in Jerusalem on April 18, 2018
AFP

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli army reservists received an emergency message calling them to duty early Thursday as the country celebrated Independence Day — but found out shortly later the message had been a mistake.

A military spokesman confirmed the mistaken call to duty, but declined to provide further details, including how many reservists received the message.

The mistaken message came with tensions high between Israel and its main enemy Iran over a recent strike in Syria attributed to the Jewish state.

Israel’s military said the message was issued by an automated system by accident and “was very quickly resolved.”

It was issued as Israel marked 70 years since the founding of the country according to the Hebrew calendar, celebrated as Independence Day and a national holiday.

Israeli media published images of the text message calling up the reservists which said “emergency call up has been activated.”

“You are to report immediately to the meeting place,” the message said.

“Reminder, you are to bring your protection kit and your military kit.”

Another message was sent shortly later cancelling it and explaining that the call up had been an error, the reports said.

An air strike attributed to Israel on April 9 at Syria’s T-4 airbase left 14 people dead, including seven Iranian personnel.

Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, threatened a response, and Israeli media have focused heavily on the possibility in recent days.

Israel has refused to confirm or deny responsibility for the strike in Syria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel cannot accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran is supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Israel has warned that Iran could seek to attack it from Syria.

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