Israeli defense chiefs closely watching Syria

Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister has summoned his top security and intelligence advisers to discuss the deteriorating security situation in neighboring Syria.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has had several hours of consultations, according to his office. Barak said, "Israel is closely monitoring all of the developments in Syria."

This follows the assassination in Damascus of three senior Syrian officials, including President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law. It was the most brazen attack in more than a year of fighting between Syrian forces and rebels.

Israel has stayed out of the fighting but has expressed fears that Syrian weapons could reach anti-Israel militants. On Tuesday, Israel's military intelligence chief said Islamist militants may exploit the power vacuum to attack Israel.

Syria and Israel are bitter enemies, but their border has been mostly quiet since 1974.