Syria has called up reserve forces and is conducting large-scale military maneuvers in preparation for an anticipated Israeli attack against Syria and the Lebanese-based Hizbollah, a London-based Arabic newspaper reported on Wednesday.
A member of the Syrian parliament's National Security Committee, Ahmad Munir Muhammad, later denied the report, calling it "totally false."
The Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Wednesday quoted senior Syrian sources as saying that Syria was closely monitoring Israeli troop movements along Israel's northern border, following statements by Israeli military officials.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured Israel's northern border on Tuesday.
Israel exercise against "Syria, Iran missiles"
On the other hand, Israel plans to conduct its largest exercise ever to set contingencies for massive missile attacks by "Iran and Syria".
The government has been preparing for a five-day exercise in April that would simulate conventional and nonconventional missile strikes "from Iran, Lebanon and Syria".
Officials said the exercise would test emergency response as well as evacuation of cities struck by "enemy missiles".
The exercise, scheduled to begin on April 6, has been organized by National Emergency Authority. The authority was established in 2007 as part of recommendations in the aftermath of the Hizbullah war a year earlier.
The exercise also envisioned missile and rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities by Gaza Strip.
The exercise would include a simulation conducted by the government. Officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would convene the Cabinet to order a response to the enemy strike.
Also, Israeli authorities have decided to distribute gas masks to civilians, starting next year, to prepare for a possible non-conventional weapons' attack, public radio reported.
It said Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai announced the decision during a closed-door meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and members of his security cabinet.
General Zeev Zuckran of Israel's emergency services told public radio there was no cause for alarm over the decision.
Israeli authorities regularly warn of the risks of a non-conventional attack from Iran or Syria.
Authorities have already in the past distributed gas masks, notably during the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait when Iraq fired Scud missiles at Israel. Those masks were collected from the end of 2006 for checks and to change the filters.
Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2008, 17:50