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Israel orders bio/chemical warfare masks redistributed, Damascus raises war alarm

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    Israel’s security cabinet convened Wednesday, April 2, to examine the homeland’s preparedness for war. It decided to redistribute the bio/chemical warfare masks a few months after they were called in. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose intelligence data indicating the possibility that Syria may transfer to Hizballah chemical or biological warheads known to have been developed for its war arsenal. A few hours earlier, the London-based al Quds al-Arabi quoted Damascus officials as claiming that Israel is preparing a big attack on Syria and Hizballah. Syria was said to have ordered a partial call-up of its military reserves. The paper also reported that Hizballah had decided to postpone for the moment its plan to wreak its revenge on Israel for allegedly killing Imad Mughniyeh last month, so as not to provide Israel with a pretext for going to war against Syria and itself.
    DEBKAfile reports too that last week, Damascus deployed two armored brigades on the Beirut-Damascus highway under the command of President Bashar Assad’s young brother Maher Assad, chief of the presidential guard. They were posted there to block the road in case Israeli armored columns attempted to reach Damascus through Lebanon.
    IDF sources report Iran has sent Syria state of the art equipment for surveillance and eavesdropping on Israeli military command centers and bases.
    Tuesday night, Israel’s home defense command scheduled April 6-10 a nationwide exercise to improve the home front’s readiness for emergencies. Warning sirens will be tested on April 8.
    That day, too, defense minister Ehud Barak’s toured Israel’s northern border and reported “a great deal of activity on the other side.” He added:”…we are learning the lessons of the last war, Israel is the strongest country in the region and I would not advise anyone on the other side to test us.”
    In their briefing to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday morning, intelligence officers confirmed intense Hizballah activity, much of it in South Lebanon by operatives in civilian disguise. The officers referred to the Lebanese Shiite terror group’s rearmament with more powerful and longer-range rockets.
    On March 22, DEBKAfile first revealed that Hizballah had more trebled its pre-war rocket arsenal to 40,000.
     

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