Israel ends gas mask distribution to public

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Associated Press

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Updated Sunday, Jan 19 at 11:34 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has decided to stop issuing gas masks to the public after concluding the threat of chemical attack is low.

Just a few months ago, Israelis were rushing to distribution centers after chemical weapons were fired at rebel-held areas in neighboring Syria. Facing the threat of a U.S. attack, Syria subsequently agreed to dismantle its chemical stockpiles. The first load of weapons was taken out of Syria this month.

In a statement Sunday, Israel's Security Cabinet said gas mask distribution will end next month. It said "there has been a significant decline in the threat of chemical weapons being fired at Israel."

Israel began issuing civilians with gas masks around the time of the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel. None carried chemical warheads.

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