JERUSALEM – 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 firing missiles at Israel, a close American ally. While Israeli officials sought to distance themselves from Syria’s standoff with the West and believe the chances of a Syrian strike remain slim, people were clearly preparing for the possibility.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent the day with his top security advisers discussing the situation. Afterward, he sent a mixed message, urging people to remain calm while also approving special precautionary measures.
An Israeli official briefed on the meeting said the government had ordered a “limited” call-up of reserve units to beef up civil defense preparations and to operate air-defense units near the border.
Earlier, defense officials had confirmed the deployment of Iron Dome and Patriot missile-defense batteries in areas near the Syrian border.