Sunday, January 27, 2013

Israel warns of possible pre-emptive chemical weapons strike in Syria - CBS News

cbsnews.com 01.27.2013
Israel could launch a pre-emptive strike to stop Syria's chemical weapons from reaching Lebanon's Hezbollah or al Qaeda inspired groups, officials said Sunday.

The warning came as the military moved a rocket defense system to a main northern city, and Israel's premier warned of dangers from both Syria and Iran.

Israel has long expressed concerns that Syrian President Bashar Assad, clinging to power during a 22-month civil war, could lose control over his chemical weapons. Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Sunday that Israel's top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. The fact of the meeting, held the morning after a national election, had not been made public before.

Shalom told the Army Radio station that the transfer of weapons to violent groups, particularly the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, would be a game changer.

"It would be crossing a line that would demand a different approach, including even action," he said. Asked whether this might mean a pre-emptive attack, he said: "We will have to make the decisions."

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