August 28, 2013
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel ordered a special call-up of reserve troops Wednesday as nervous citizens lined up at gas-mask distribution centers, preparing for possible hostilities with Syria.
With the U.S. threatening to attack Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, Israel fears that Syria may respond by attacking Israel, a close American ally. While Israeli officials believe the chances of a Syrian strike remain slim, people were clearly preparing for the possibility.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent the day huddled with his top security advisers discussing the situation. Afterwards, he sent a mixed message, urging people to remain calm while also approving special precautionary measures.
"There is no reason to change daily routines," he said. "At the same time we are prepared for any scenario." He said the Israeli military "is ready to defend against any threat and to respond strongly against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens."
An Israeli official briefed on the meeting said the government had ordered a "limited" callup of reserve units to beef up civil defense preparations and to operate air-defense units near the border. Other officials briefed on the meeting said the call-up is anticipated to bring in "hundreds" of troops.
Earlier, defense officials had confirmed the deployment of Iron Dome and Patriot missile-defense batteries in areas near the Syrian border.