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Israel closely watching weapons sent to Syria's rebels

Israel is closely monitoring the kinds of weapons that are being sent to Syrian rebel groups, and it’s consulted with U.S. officials about which weapons they consider too sophisticated to be passed to the groups that are battling to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. paper Miami Herald reported. According to Israeli officials with knowledge of the situation, "Israel isn’t going to interfere and stop weapons shipments to the rebels at this point, but it wants to make sure it knows what they have." Israel is concerned that the pressure to assist the rebels will result in weapons going to "al Qaida-linked militants that have proved to be the anti-Assad forces’ best fighters," report claims.

According to the report, it’s long been known that Israel was monitoring the Assad regime’s internal movements of chemical and other sophisticated weapons out of concern that they might fall into the "wrong hands" such as the Nusra Front or be passed to avowed enemies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent fighters to Syria to fight on Assad’s behalf.

Until now, however, Israeli officials have been silent on their concerns about what weapons other nations might pass to the rebels, the paper says.

The White House raised the possibility that weapons passed to the rebels might pose a threat to Israel two weeks ago in comments explaining why President Barack Obama had vetoed a plan, put forward sometime last year, to send military equipment to the rebels. The plan had the backing of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-CIA director David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta told a Senate committee Feb. 7.

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