Man tries on gas mask (illustrative)
Man tries on gas mask (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

Thousands of Israelis lined up at gas mask protection kit distribution centers around the country, ostensibly to obtain kits for their families in case of a Syrian attack on Israel. But at least some of those kits, it appears, are helping fuel an uptick of gas mask sales on the Internet, According to business daily Globes, there has been a sharp increase in the number of gas masks for sale on sites like eBay in recent weeks, with many of the sellers located in Israel.

Some of the masks are of the older variety, distributed in the early 2000s, which have since been recalled, while others are of the more advanced type being distributed now. The masks are being sold at prices between $25 and as much as $165, depending on the model.

Homefront Security Ministry officials have warned against using the old models, because they were found to be ineffective in protecting users from some chemical attacks. Despite that, Globes said, mask sales were brisk.

It is not known where the sellers were getting the old masks from, as they were supposed to have been destroyed. Officials are investigating possible illegal purchases of the masks by merchants from Israelis who never bothered to turn in their old masks.