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Even Israel, which says it is not involved in the Syrian war or any other Sunni-Shiite conflict, has been preparing for a violent backlash from Damascus or its supporters if President Obama follows through with strikes to punish Mr. Assad for using chemical weapons.

The chairman of Iran’s parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, on Wednesday threatened Israel and the United States if Syria is attacked.

“Any further warmongering in [Syria] will have dire consequences for the U.S. and the Zionist regime [of Israel],” Mr. Boroujerdi said, according to Press TV.

Israeli military chiefs said Wednesday that they were calling up a small number of reservists, specialists in missile defense and other fields, and would be operating missile defense systems.

Israelis lined up to collect gas masks from distribution centers around the country and jammed the phone lines and the website of the Israel Postal Co., which distributes the protective kits, The New York Times reported from Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country’s military is “ready to defend against any threat and to respond strongly against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens.”

Despite calls for calm from regional and international leaders, global oil prices spiked Wednesday and regional markets took a battering from nervous investors.