Alert Level Raised as Flag March Approaches

By Hamodia Staff

Israel’s chief of police Kobi Shabtai. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – Police chief Kobi Shabtai has put his forces on high alert in Yerushalayim and mixed cities around the country, ahead of the controversial flag march in the Old City set for Sunday.

The alert level has been raised to its second highest level in the capital, amid threat of violence from Palestinian terrorist groups.

Shabtai ordered that leave be largely curtailed for the Border Police and training courses canceled to free them for deployment instead. Three companies will be called up from reserves and the rest are to be placed on stand-by in case of emergency.

He said that 3,000 police will be assigned to escort the marchers, and thousands more will be stationed around the city and flashpoints elsewhere. A separate statement from the Yerushalayim Police indicated the number of officers along the flag march will be closer to 2,000.

Other events in the coming days will also be given higher security, including an all-night student festival and a large contingent of mispallelim at the kever of Shmuel HaNavi just outside the predominantly Arab east Yerushalayim. Road closures and extra police are planned.

In addition, the IDF is raising the alert level at air defense batteries, including Iron Dome, according to the Kan public broadcaster on Wednesday night.

“Our main task is to ensure that Yerushalayim Day events can go ahead properly and safely as every year,” senior police spokesman Doron Turgeman said.

He added that claims circulating that the march will ascend the Temple Mount are false.

Last year, the nationalist flag march that goes through Old City’s Muslim Quarter to reach the Kosel touched off an 11-day war with Hamas.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the march will be scaled down to 16,000 participants, with many more thousands planning to hold a gathering outside Jaffa Gate.

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