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Israel fears potential Syrian Islamist attacks

(Xinhua)

13:09, August 06, 2012

JERUSALEM, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israel is increasingly concerned that extremist Islamists actively involved in Syria's conflicts may ultimately turn their weapons against Israeli targets, security officials said Sunday.

Israeli intelligence agencies monitoring the situation across the northern border in recent weeks have noticed the growing involvement of al-Qaida-affiliated cells, as well as other groups linked to the global jihad movement, in the fighting against the Syrian regime, the Ha'aretz newspaper reported Sunday.

These groups are estimated to number several thousand fighters from Iraq, Jordan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, who have pledged their loyalty to the rebels' Free Syria Army, as an unknown number of fighters have been killed in fighting against the government forces across Syria, Ha'aretz said.

According to the report, security officials here are reviewing a scenario in which members of these groups will attempt to launch actions against Israel in the near future in a bid to coax Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into a confrontation with Israel.
A more troubling scenario is that the militants will exploit the security vacuum in a post-Assad era to strike roots and turn Syria into a global jihad stronghold, the report said.
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