The Blaze (August 26) — As U.S. and Western top generals meet in the Middle East Monday to deliberate their next move, Israelis are flocking to distribution centers to pick up gas masks, fearing Syrian retaliation should the regime of President Bashar Assad be attacked.
Israel’s Postal Authority, which is responsible for handing out civilian gas masks, reported a three-fold increase in home delivery orders of chemical weapons kits which include gas masks and a nerve gas antidote.
According to Israeli Home Front Command figures, only 60% of Israelis have collected their protective kits in the distribution campaign which has continued for several years, though in the north of the country, a larger percentage possesses the kits, 69 percent in Haifa and 72 percent in Nahariya.
Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi over the weekend warned the Middle East would turn into “a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East” if the U.S. were to launch a military strike.
“The most dangerous regimes in the world must not be allowed to possess the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, apparently drawing a parallel with Iran, which Israel believes is working to develop nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu also voiced a veiled warning should Syria be considering a retaliatory attack on Israel. “…Our finger must always be on the pulse,” Netanyahu said. “Ours is a responsible finger and if necessary, it will also be on the trigger.”
“We will always know to defend our people and our state against whoever attacks us, tries to attack us or has attacked us,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
Israel’s Channel 2 is quoting Israeli military sources who say they do not believe that Syria will launch a military attack on Israel were it to face a U.S. strike. “Israel’s estimation is that Assad would not retaliate against Israel” but that precautions were being taken nonetheless, Channel 2 reported, as quoted by the Times of Israel.
Related: “Netanyahu to spend another $350 million so every Israeli has gas mask,” March 31, 2013.