Six companies of Israeli soldiers were mobilized in Jerusalem Wednesday, as the IDF joined efforts to secure the city following an escalation in the violence there. The move is part of a slew of measures passed by the security cabinet overnight Tuesday aiming to prevent further terror attacks after the deadliest day so far in the current wave of unrest.
Tuesday saw four terror attacks, two of which, in Jerusalem, left three Israelis dead. All told, over 30 were injured.
“In accordance with the cabinet’s decision last night, as of this morning 300 IDF soldiers have already begun spreading out to provide additional security under police command,” an Israel Police spokesman said in a statement Wednesday morning.
Police also began setting up checkpoints at “the exits of Palestinian villages and neighborhoods in east Jerusalem,” where most of the recent attackers have come from, a police spokeswoman said. Those police actions are intended to return security and order to all the country’s residents, the police said.
The security cabinet also voted to ramp up security arrangements on Jerusalem’s public transport, where the IDF will bolster security until the Transportation Ministry enlists additional guards. Soldiers will be stationed at bus and light rail stops, as well as on buses and trains across the city.
“IDF units will reinforce the Israel Police in cities and along roads,” and will deploy “along the security fence in the immediate term,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office read.
In an effort to prevent terror attacks emanating from East Jerusalem — all five of Tuesday’s attackers hailed from Arab neighborhoods there — the security cabinet also voted to allow a lockdown on several Arab neighborhoods.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said police would be “authorized to impose a closure on, or to surround, centers of friction and incitement in Jerusalem, in accordance with security considerations.”
Also Wednesday, the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved the call-up of 1,400 reservists in the Border Police. So far, 850 reservists have been called up.
Other courses of action approved by the security cabinet included the demolition of terrorists’ homes within days of an attack and the banning of new construction, the confiscation of the property of terrorists who carry out attacks, and the revoking of permanent residency rights from their families.
So far, the families of five Palestinian terrorists who have killed Jews will receive demolition orders. They include the families of the men who killed Eitam and Naama Henkin in a West Bank shooting attack some two weeks ago; the man who fatally stabbed Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Benita in Jerusalem 10 days ago; and the killers of Malachi Rosenfeld and Danny Gonen in shooting attacks in the West Bank earlier this year.
The security cabinet also approved Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s proposal that Israel not hand over the bodies of terrorists killed during attacks to their families. Erdan suggested burying such terrorists in IDF cemeteries within Israel’s borders, where other terrorists have been buried in the past.
Erdan said terrorists should not be honored with admiration and ceremonies after carrying out attacks. “The families of terrorists turn their funerals into a demonstration of support for terrorism and incitement to murder. We must put an end to this,” he said.
The security cabinet is set to reconvene on Wednesday for additional discussions based on the latest developments.
AFP contributed to this report.