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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Israel warns it will strike Syria if rebels or Hezbullah obtain chem weapons

A highly unusual meeting of Israel's security chiefs on Wednesday, the morning after the elections, is serving as a warning to all parties in the Syrian civil war that Israel regards chemical weapons falling into the hands of either the Syrian rebels or Hezbullah as a causus belli that will draw a response.
Should Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas or rebels battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad obtain Syrian chemical weapons, [Deputy Prime Minister Sylvan] Shalom told Israel's Army Radio, "it would dramatically change the capabilities of those organizations."
Such a development would be "a crossing of all red lines that would require a different approach, including even preventive operations," he said - alluding to military intervention, for which Israeli generals have said plans have been readied.
"The concept, in principle, is that this (chemical weapons transfer) must not happen," Shalom said. "The moment we begin to understand that such a thing is liable to happen, we will have to make decisions."
Interviewed separately by Army Radio, Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said Syria was "on the verge of collapse."
But asked whether Israel perceived an imminent threat, Dichter said: "No, not yet. I suppose that when things pose a danger to us, the State of Israel will know about it."

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