Israel short of gas masks for citizens

Feb. 19, 2008 at 9:10 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Israel's Defense Ministry has run out of money to collect and refurbish millions of gas masks for the country's civilians, a report said Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry had collected 4.5 million of the 7 million gas masks it had intended to refurbish, The Jerusalem Post reported. Channel 2 reported the ministry is millions of dollars short of the amount it needs to complete the task, the newspaper said.

Halting the operation leaves millions of Israelis unprotected should the country come under chemical or biological attack, said the Post, which first reported the funding dilemma last November. Defense officials warned at that time that if the money could not be found for the project, distribution of the refurbished masks could be delayed until the end of the decade.

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