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Thousands of Israelis jostle for gas masks

August 29, 2013

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say thousands of Israelis are crowding gas-mask distribution facilities, readying for a potential conflict with Syria.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said officers were deployed to maintain order in the northern city of Haifa, where more than 5,000 people jostled in line as they waited for their protective kits on Thursday. A sports arena there was being used as a distribution center to accommodate the crowds.

The rising tension and long lines have led to some chaos. Israel’s postal service, which oversees the distribution, said an angry mob forcibly took gas masks from a distribution center in Jerusalem on Wednesday, leading to the site’s indefinite closure.

Israel has also called up reservists and deployed missile defense batteries in preparation for a possible Syrian response to an American attack.

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