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Israel sees Russian hand in Syria tensions

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A top Israeli official blamed recent tensions with Syria on Russian interference.

Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad said Thursday that Russia, a chief arms supplier to the Damascus regime, helped fuel speculation that Israel and Syria could go to war this summer.

“During a certain period, the Russians did indeed contribute to the Syrians thinking that Israel wanted war,” Gilad told Army Radio. “I think they’ve stopped doing that. The Syrians do not intend to launch a war against Israel, and Israel certainly does not intend to launch a war against Syria.”

Gilad spoke after being asked about a Ma’ariv report that Russia had sought to stoke Syrian war fears in order to clinch a large defense deal. Syria is believed to have recently bought advanced Russian weaponry such as anti-aircraft missiles.

The Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment.

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