Police have carried out a training exercise to prepare for a chemical attack on the the Israeli embassy in London.
The drill, which was the first of its kind to take place in a foreign embassy in the capital, also involved firefighters and paramedics who rehearsed their response to “casualties affected by a noxious substance”.
A section of the embassy was cordoned off on Sunday and decontamination tents were erected at the back of the building, which is near Kensington Palace in central London.
Paramedics in bio suits treated “casualties”, played by members of the Royal Military Police, who were put through decontamination showers.
The Met said the scenario provided valuable learning both in terms of the nature of the incident and the challenges brought by the location.
Sunday’s snowy and icy conditions made the exercise more difficult, the police said.
Commander Adrian Usher, who heads the Met’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command said: “This was the first time we have been able to carry out a live exercise inside a foreign embassy and the experience and learning gained from this will be invaluable.
“It also tested our joint response in dealing with a hazardous substance, which is important as it will help officers and staff be better prepared should we ever face this type of challenge for real.”
It came at a time when Israeli-owned institutions were on high-alert, after Donald Trump announced the US would officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The move is controversial since the city is a holy site for a number of religions and the President has been accused of squandering years of diplomatic effort between Israeli and Palestinian people.
But the police denied the exercise was linked to the latest political developments and the drill was not carried out in response to any particular piece of intelligence, the Met said.
“I must stress that the exercise, which has been planned over several months, was not designed with any specific threat in mind either in terms of the hazardous material element or the location,” Commander Usher added.
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The Embassy of Israel said it was happy to take part in the exercise and to work together with the Metropolitan Police and emergency services.