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August 30, 2013 6:52 am

Israeli Soldiers and Civilians Prepare for Syria Fallout

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

An IDF soldier showing a child how to put on a gas mask. Photo: IDF.

Israel’s security cabinet approved a limited call-up of reservists on Wednesday as the Obama administration considers a possible U.S.-led strike against Syria following Assad’s use of chemical weapons that killed hundreds of Syrian civilians on August 21.

In addition to calling up reservists who serve mainly in the Home Front Command and the Israel Air Force Active Defense wing, the IDF also deployed air defenses across the country including Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries in Eilat, Ashkelon, and Haifa. The army also deployed Patriot and Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile batteries in the north and in areas that are close to the Syrian border.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Tuesday that Israel would respond with full strength to any Syrian threat, the Prime Minister also asked Israelis to continue with their daily routines.

“Pursuant to the security consultation that was held today, there is no reason to change daily routines. At the same time, we are prepared for any scenario. The IDF is ready to defend against any threat and to respond strongly against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens,” said Netanyahu.

Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon stated on Wednesday at a Tel Aviv news conference that “we are getting ready and are prepared, but there is no panic, no escalation, and things are being done judiciously.”

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At the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, it was indicated that there was a “low probability” that the Assad regime would respond to U.S. military action on Syria by striking Israel, according to a Jerusalem Post report. America would also inform Israel before a U.S.-led strike on Syria would take place, according to the report.

In any case, the demand for gas masks dramatically shot up, as thousands of Israelis rushed to post offices and IDF Home Front Command distribution centers on Wednesday. The Israeli Postal Company stated that three times as many people as usual were coming to get gas masks.

According to media reports, only 60 percent of Israelis have gas masks, and a report in Globes stated that the Israeli government has yet to find a budget solution to manufacture gas masks for the entire population.

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