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Israel Says Ready to Use Military Force in Syria

A senior Israeli official said the nation is prepared to use military force to prevent Hezbollah or other militant organizations from obtaining control of Syrian chemical weapons, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.

Such a development "would be crossing a line that would demand a different approach, including even action," according to Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. Questioned by Army Radio on whether that could involve an early armed interdiction, Shalom said: "We will have to make the decisions."

The security of Syria's large chemical arsenal has been a key point of concern during the nation's ongoing civil war that has caused in excess of 60,000 deaths.

Tel Aviv intends to ensure Syrian chemical arms do not "fall into the wrong hands," said legislator and former senior intelligence official Yisrael Hasson.

"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," he said on Army Radio.

Top Israeli security officials met last week to discuss the Syrian chemical weapons situation, Reuters reported.

Syria is believed to keep chemical warfare materials at four locations, according to the report. Opposition fighters are believed to be nearing installations at al-Safir and Damascus, Israel's Channel 2 reported.

Ynet reported on Monday that Hezbollah has established operating sites near chemical weapons sites in Syria.

Israel has also moved one or more Iron Dome rocket defense battery to the region bordering Syria and Lebanon, though a military official said the move was "not related to any current situation assessments," the New York Times reported.

An adviser to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday warned that any "attack on Syria is considered (an) attack on Iran and Iran's allies," AP reported.

NTI Analysis

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Israel

This article provides an overview of Israel's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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