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Demand for gas masks triples in Israel

The number of daily orders has spiked from an average of 200 a day to 500 a day

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Gulf News

Tel Aviv: The demand for gas masks almost tripled in Israel in January amid concerns about the safety of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.

The Israel Postal Service, charged with free distribution of non-conventional warfare protection equipment, said the number of Israelis who decided to update their gas masks has almost tripled in the past month, according to the Ynet news portal.

The postal service said the number of daily orders has spiked from an average of 200 a day to 500 a day.

ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) kits have been distributed in Israel since 1991.

They contain a gas mask and atropine pens, which are periodically updated according to their respective expiration dates.

The demand was possibly fuelled by concerns expressed by top state and defence officials over the possibility that radical groups may gain control of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed concern about the weapons of mass destruction in Syria, with the country “increasingly coming apart” as a result of the 22-month-long civil conflict.

Air Force chief Major-General Amir Eshel has warned that “given [Syria’s] massive arsenal, Israel may find itself dealing with non-conventional weapons on its borders”.