Thursday, 29 August 2013

Israeli public in state of panic as US readies for war against Syria


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli media and officials sought to calm the public on Thursday as queues for gas masks lengthened amid expectations of a US-led military strike against neighboring Syria.

"Keep calm and carry on" was the headline of a front-page analysis in the Jerusalem Post, echoing a World War II British government slogan.

Most media on Thursday sought to ease fears of a Syrian backlash against staunch US ally Israel, which insists it is not a party to events across its northern border.

"With (Israeli) military intelligence keeping more eyes and ears open to enemy activity than ever before, the combination of Israeli's firepower and accurate intelligence would spell very bad news for the Assad regime should it choose to target Israel in response to an attack on Syria by the United States," the Post wrote.

"Defense officials are quite confident he will not commence hostilities against Israel," it added. "Doing so would likely sign his regime's death certificate."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's eight-member security cabinet in Wednesday authorized a limited call-up of reservists but the premier said in a statement that members of the public had "no reason to change their routines."

Haaretz daily said that those to be called up numbered "a few hundred" personnel considered vital, including members of missile defense, air force, intelligence and civil defense units. more

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