Deployed medical personnel with the Israel Defense Forces are to receive stocks of a drug that can be used to counteract the effects of sarin and other nerve agents, the Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.
The fresh IDF procurement of tens of thousands of doses of diazepam comes amid reports that the military of neighboring Syria has been preparing sarin for possible use against rebel forces.
The Israeli military had until recently only provided the drug to established medical treatment sites at a distance from possible conflict zones.
“Now the medics receive auto injectors, enabling treatment half an hour to an hour earlier than before, and also enabling treatment to 10 times more people,” Lt. Col. Micah Ksirer, who leads IDF medical corps preparations against unconventional threats, told the army Bamahane weekly. “Shortening the duration (prior to) treatment can save the injured from brain damage and death," he added.
Israeli officials have played down the threat that Syria's chemical arms might pose to their nation.
“We see no sign that this weaponry is being pointed at us,” Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon said this week on army radio. "“Syria has been armed for the last decades with chemical missiles and weapons, but our deterrent factor is stable and the proof is that they haven’t used them against us yet.”