JERUSALEM — Israel would "have to act" if the Syrian regime collapses and there's a risk Syria's chemical weapons and missiles could fall into the hands of militant groups, Israel's prime minister warned Sunday.
The deteriorating situation of President Bashar Assad's regime is stoking Israeli fears that militants affiliated with Lebanon's Hezbollah group or the al-Qaida terror network could raid Syrian military arsenals for chemical weapons or missiles that could strike Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel hasn't considered specifically trying to cross the border to seize the weapons. "There are other possibilities," he said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
Over the weekend, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would be prepared to attack Syrian weapons arsenals should the need arise.
Netanyahu said preventing Syria's weapons from falling into the wrong hands is key to Israeli security.
"Could you imagine Hezbollah, the people who are conducting with Iran all these terror attacks around the world — could you imagine them having chemical weapons? It would be like al-Qaida having chemical weapons," he said. "It's something that is not acceptable to us, not acceptable to the United States and to any peaceable country in the world. So I think that this is something we'll have to act to stop if the need arises. And the need might arise if there's a regime collapse, but not a regime change," he said.