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Israeli official warns of Syrian chemical weapons

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 27, 2013 at 10:22 a.m.

— A senior Israeli Cabinet minister has warned that the transfer of Syria’s chemical weapons to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon could trigger an Israeli attack.

Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom confirmed to Israel’s Army Radio that top security officials held a special meeting last week to discuss Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Israel has long expressed concerns that embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, clinging to power after a 22-month civil war, could lose control over his chemical weapons. Shalom says the transfer of weapons to groups hostile to Israel, particularly Hezbollah, would cross a “red line.”

“It would be crossing a line that would demand a different approach, including even action,” he said. Asked whether this might mean a pre-emptive attack, he said: “We will have to make the decisions.”

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