Did Israel attack a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles that Syria was dispatching to Hizbullah in Lebanon?
Various military and civilian sources, both around the world and within Syria and Lebanon, are convinced that there was such an attack. Israel has filled its mouth with water, and is not confirming or denying.
In the past, Israeli military sources said that if indeed these SA17 advanced missiles, produced by Russia, would reach Hizbullah, that would break the balance of airpower in the region and Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanon and the Galilee would be in significant danger. This is because these missiles can be moved very quickly from place to place, and can more accurately target planes and helicopters flying from very low altitudes to very high altitudes.
Over the past two years, the Russians have provided hundreds of such missiles to the Syrian Army. Now, the Syrians apparently don’t have what to do with the system, and therefore, as a reward to Hizbullah for its assistance that it has been providing to Assad’s army since the uprising began, it has decided to transfer advanced weapons to Hizbullah.
Israel, in a variety of ways, is trying to convey the message to Syria that it will not allow this to happen and will not rest on its laurels if such a transfer does take place.
Over the past few days, Israel has been on alert in light of signs that Assad’s regime is on the verge of collapse. Concerns have been raised that different types of weapons, both conventional and unconventional, are liable to fall into the hostile hands of the World Jihad, Hizbullah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which are already surrounding the Syrian bases and are just waiting for the regime to fall and for chaos to break out.
It is also possible that long-range Scud D missiles that can carry chemical warheads will fall into the hands of Hizbullah, in addition to the actual biological and chemical weapons.
Israeli security forces have raised the alert level in the military, but have not changed the alert level on the civilian front. However, the news from Syria and Lebanon, the reports of an attack, the installation of an Iron Dome battery in the north, and preparatory steps that local authorities in the north of Israel have taken of their own initiative, have all ramped up the panic levels.
For example, demand for gas masks at distribution centers operated by Israel Post has doubled. From an average of 1,400 sets that were distributed each day around the country last week, the number this week has averaged more than 4,000 daily.
In Be’er Sheva and Yerushalayim, for example, demand has increased from between 100 and 400 sets a day to more than 1,000 a day.
To date, Israel postal authority has distributed more than 4.7 million gas mask kits to civilians.