Israel has legitimate concerns that Syria’s chemical weapon arsenal could fall into the hands of Hezbollah and other al-Qaida-linked terrorist organizations amid the chaos of civil war.
So the Jewish state warned it would be prepared to “launch a pre-emptive strike” against Syria to prevent such an occurrence from happening if needed, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
In a move Israeli officials called “routine,” Israel deployed its rocket defense system to Haifa on Sunday, the AP reported.
“Syria has a massive amount of chemical weapons, and if they fall into hands even more extreme than Syria like Hezbollah or global jihad groups it would completely transform the map of threats,” the AP quoted Yisrael Hasson, a former official with Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency, as saying on Army Radio.
Appearing on the same radio broadcast, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said any transfer of chemical weapons from Syria to hostile terrorist organizations would be a “game changer.”
“It would be crossing a line that would demand a different approach, including even action,” Hassan said.
At a Cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is rightfully concerned about the plans Syria’s ally, Iran, has for an ambitious nuclear program, its known ties to anti-Israel terrorist groups and the constant calls for Israel’s destruction by Iranian leaders, the AP pointed out.
“We must look around us, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies and at what is happening in other areas, with the deadly weapons in Syria, which is increasingly coming apart,” Netanyahu said.