As strike on Syria looms, Israelis scramble for gas masks. Netanyahu says Israel will hit hard if Syrian threat detected.

Cause for concern? The recent tension along the northern border has caused a spike in demand for gas masks. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/Times of Israel).

Cause for concern? The recent tension along the northern border has caused a spike in demand for gas masks. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/Times of Israel).

UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — Israeli military forces and civil defense authorities are on full alert, looking for any sign that Syria is about to attack, especially with chemical weapons. Netanyahu warned Israel will hit hard if a Syrian threat is detected.

“The State of Israel is ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday after a meeting with his security advisers, his second in as many days.

“Requests for gas masks among Israelis saw a major increase on Sunday and Monday, reflecting growing concern among the country’s citizens of a possible Syrian chemical attack following assessments that the US will soon launch a military assault on the war-torn country,” reports the Times of Israel.

“Israeli post offices, which serve as distribution points for gas masks, reported receiving 300 percent more phone calls on Sunday and Monday than on an average day from people who wished to acquire protection kits,” the Times noted. “More than twice as many people than average approached the distribution points themselves….According to numbers released by the government, only 60% of Israelis currently possess gas masks.”

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