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Israel ready for any Syria scenario, Netanyahu says

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is “ready for any scenario” in the current Syria situation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the second meeting in two days of his security Cabinet.

The security Cabinet met Tuesday afternoon — a day after a delegation of senior Israeli officials met in Washington with U.S. security officials — to discuss the repercussions on Israel of a possible U.S. military strike on Syria, according to reports.

“We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond and we will respond in strength,” Netanyahu said in a statement following the meeting.

A statement issued late Monday by the U.S. National Security Council said that National Security Adviser Susan Rice hosted a delegation of senior Israeli officials “for consultations on Iran, Egypt, Syria, and a range of other regional security issues.”

The Israeli delegation was headed by Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror, chairman of Israel’s National Security Council and Netanyahu’s national security adviser.

“Today’s meetings were the latest in a series of regular, high-level consultations between the United States and Israel, consistent with our strong bilateral partnership, and part of our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” the statement said.

Syrian and Iranian officials have said that if the United States attacks Syria, Israel will come under attack by the two countries and other allies in the Middle East.

“No military attack will be waged against Syria,” said Hossein Sheikholeslam, a member of Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly, according to the Times of Israel. “Yet if such an incident takes place, which is impossible, the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria.”

Khalaf Muftah, a senior Baath party official in Syria, said in a radio interview, according to the Times of Israel, that Damascus would consider Israel behind any military strike on Syria and would respond with “strategic weapons” in strikes on Israel.

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