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Israel Moves Iron Dome to Haifa over Syria Chemical Weapons Fears

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By Vasudevan Sridharan | January 28, 2013 9:12 PM EST

Israeli soldiers watch as an Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Beersheba in this 17 November, 2012 file photo. Reuters

Israel has deployed missiles in the Haifa region near the Syrian border in what appears to be a fear of chemical weapons falling into the hands of the Lebanon-based Islamic militant group Hezbollah.

Israel has moved two of its Iron Dome missiles, which were effective in the recent Israel-Gaza conflict, to the troubled zone.

Israel has also threatened to take military action against Syria if it chooses to use the much-feared chemical weapons against the rebels. Apart from the missile deployment, Israeli forces have also stepped up other security systems to closely monitor the situation in Syria.

Israel's latest move has come when local reports suggest that the Hezbollah is trying to seize Syria's powerful chemical weapons. Israeli officials, however, maintained that the deployment is part of a "routine" military exercise. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held several meetings with officials over the Syrian crisis.

According to Ynet News, the militant group has set up "several bases" in the war-torn Syria where the stockpile of chemical weapons is believed to exist. Syria's chemical weapons hoard is said to be the largest in the Middle East region.

According to reports, Israel fears that if Hezbollah gets hold of the chemical weapons, the militant group might quickly transfer them to Lebanon posing a serious security threat to Israel.

The latest report published by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security (RUSI) says the Syrian regime controlled by President Bashar al-Assad has potentially five chemical agents manufacturing plants and several dozen additional storage sites some of which are in hardened bunkers.

The use of chemical weapons has become a huge cause of concern for world powers during the second half of the 22-month-long uprising in Syria against Assad.

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