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Top Israeli security officials in Russia over Syria crisis

Last updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:44 AM

Mohammed Mar’i
Saudi Gazette

RAMALLAH – Israeli National Security Adviser Ya’akov Amidror was dispatched to Russia Monday to discuss the Syrian crisis, the Israeli Army reported.

The report said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent Amidror to convince the Russian leadership to take steps to prevent Syria’s chemical weapons from falling into the hands of “terrorist groups such as Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda.” Russia is a close Syrian ally.

According to the report, Amidror will hold talks with his Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterpart Nikolai Patrushev regarding the latest developments in the fighting in Syria and the chemical weapons in the Syrian army’s possession.

Israel fears that the chemical weapons stockpiled for decades under the Bashar Al- Assad’s regime and the advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry, supplied by Russia to Syria, could make their way into the hands of terrorist groups.

The development comes a day after Israel moved two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to northern areas, positioning one in Haifa city for the first time.

Israeli media reports quoted military sources as saying that the move was a routine re-positioning. The reports said that the move came on the heels of a security meeting held by top officials, including Netanyahu, to discuss the Syrian threat. Israel’s vice premier Silvan Shalom on Sunday confirmed the reports.

Shalom said that any sign of Syria’s grip on its suspected chemical weapons slipping as it battles an armed uprising could trigger Israeli military strikes.

“We must look around us, at what is happening in Iran and its proxies and at what is happening in other areas, with the deadly weapons in Syria, which is increasingly coming apart,” Netanyahu said at his weekly Sunday cabinet meeting.

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