JERUSALEM, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Israel will respond with force to any attempts by Syria and its backers to attack the Jewish state in the wake of a possible U.S. strike against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, Israel's security chiefs warned Tuesday evening.
"Those who will attempt to harm us will meet us sharp and resolute more than ever before," Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said in a live broadcast on Israel's Channel 2.
"Our enemies should know that we are determined and ready to defend our civilians, in any action we might have to undertake," Gantz said at a commemoration ceremony to honor fallen soldiers.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who spoke after the IDF chief, said that Israel, while not involved in the bloodshed in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East, remains vigilant in the face of regional developments.
"We hear the threatening voices directed toward the State of Israel... and we say clearly and decisively: whoever dares to test us will meet the prowess of the IDF," Ya'alon said in a statement released by his office.
The remarks came amid mounting signs that Washington and its allies are poised to launch a military action against the Assad administration, following an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week that killed more than 1,000 civilians.
Earlier on Tuesday, senior American officials told NBC that a strike could be launched "as early as Thursday." They expected a three-day bombing campaign that would be limited in scope, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.
Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened urgent consultations at his Tel Aviv office with Gantz, Ya'alon and IDF brass to discuss the situation in Syria. In a brief video statement that followed the meeting, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel is poised for any eventuality.
"We are ready for any scenario. We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond, and we will respond in strength," the prime minister said.