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A bungled Israeli special forces raid in Gaza sparked a two-day bombing streak from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups. An Egyptian-mediated agreement stopped the rain of 400 rockets and mortar on Tuesday.

The Red Alert app (iOS, Android) was developed in response to the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge. The app provides real-time notifications when missiles or rockets are fired into Israel.

The app is designed to give Israelis in the affected area more time to get to a shelter. When a rocket siren goes off, the app sends a notification. The trouble, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, is that the app's endless notifications keep users in a state of high anxiety.

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"I had to turn it off," Izzy Berkson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "It was stressing me out a lot more than it should've."

"The Jerusalem Post" said that the app doesn't give follow-up information, like if the siren was a false alarm.

There are multiple apps designed to operate similarly to Red Alert. Many of them aren't updated regularly.

The Red Alert app developed by Elad Nava works in multiple languages and has a map display. Users can tap on a rocket alert notification to see where it's happening on the map. The app also has a feature to let your contacts know you're safe.

Many of the apps share the name Red Alert because, in Hebrew, a rocket siren warning is called Tzeva Adom, which is usually translated as "Red Alert."

The apps are used widely outside of Israel as well. People download the apps to monitor their family's safety, show solidarity, and gain awareness.

"I use it so that each time there is a siren anywhere, I pray for the people there to have strength and be safe," Chana Shields Rosenfelder, a resident of Beit Shemesh, told Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Takeaways

  1. Missile alert apps like Red Alert send real-time notifications to people in Israel when bombs or rocket sirens are going off. The warning gives them more time to get to shelter.
  2. The apps cause heightened anxiety because of the constant notifications. Other people outside of volatile areas use the app to pray for Israel when an alert sends.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.