Israel tests missile attack warning system via SMS

Country starts week-long test of system which informs civilians of areas likely to be hit by missile strikes and more specific safety guidelines through text messages, hopes it will reduce unnecessary casualties.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) Home Front Command commenced a week-long test of an alert system which sends a text message to mobile phones located in areas likely to be hit by missile strikes.

The "personal message" system which commenced on Sunday was developed in the past few years and is expected to be operational within a month, Xinhua news site reported Sunday. It will send area-specific warnings, based on projections of incoming trajectory of unguided rockets or ballistic missiles and aims to offer more specific guidelines to residents than existing air raid sirens.

As part of the drill, messages wil be delivered to several geographic areas, reading "The Home Front Command, checking cellular system", followed by a serial number, and will be sent in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English.

This comes on the heels of a possible Israeli attack on Iran to stop its nuclear program, which has spurred public concern on how to prepare on the home front.

It is hoped that the system will help save lives in case of emergencies and save unnecessary casualties in the event of a war, a source from IDF told the news site.

Israel is not the only country using mobile phones for military purposes. Last month, the South Korean government revealed it is developing battlefield applications for Samsung and other Android-based smartphones and regards mobile software as assets to the country's armed forces.