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Israel fears Syrian missiles, nerve gas reaching Hezbollah (2)

(Xinhua)

10:51, July 23, 2012

In addition to Hezbollah, Israeli analysts are no less concerned about other jihadist organizations operating in Syria, such as al-Qaida-affiliated groups.

Karmon argued that some of these fighters are mainly entering Syria from Iraq, where they have been operating since the beginning of the Gulf War, often with the support of the Syrian intelligence services.

However, it now appears that this support is backfiring on the Syrian regime, Karmon said.

COMPLEX ESTIMATIONS

Dr. Ephraim Kam of the Tel Aviv University said it is impossible to calculate the probability of an Israeli action, as there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account.

Despite the analytical complexity, Kam is sure that the Israeli defense establishment is very concerned.

"The question is, first of all, if Israel has the intelligence information needed for such an attack, which means to know exactly where the arsenal of chemical weapons is hidden," Kam said.

The second question is at what point it would be deemed necessary and if it is practically possible to conduct such an operation, he added.

"Still, it would be a very critical situation for Israel if a terrorist organization has chemical weapons," Kam said.

Karmon said although it is very unlikely that Israel would take any kind of action while the chemical weapons remain in Syria, should Hezbollah or another group try to move the stockpiles to Lebanon, the situation might change.

Both Kam and Karmon said that the future of the Syrian weaponry is not only an Israeli problem, but rather a regional and even global one, as the United States is also anxious about the arsenal.

U.S. officials in recent days have termed the potential a direct national security threat.

Prof. Eytan Gilboa of the Bar-Ilan University said the issue -- while was not given much public attention -- was discussed during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Israel last week.

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