Police crank up readiness level ahead of Jerusalem Day parade

Police chief Kobi Shabtai has ordered the readiness alert level to be ratcheted up in Jerusalem and so-called mixed cities throughout the country ahead of a nationalist march planned for Sunday, Ynet reports.

The alert level has been raised to its second highest level in the capital, where the march is set to take place, and in cities with large populations of both Jews and Arabs, where racial violence exploded last year.

Shabtai ordered that leave be largely curtailed for the Border Police and training courses canceled so troops can be deployed instead. Three companies will be called up from reserves and the rest of the reserves ordered to be at the ready for possible deployment.

Officials fear a repeat of violence surrounding the yearly Jerusalem Day flag march, which generally attracts thousands of hardline nationalists who march through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter to reach the Western Wall to mark the anniversary of the city’s unification in 1967. Police have capped participation in the part of the march that goes through the Old City at 16,000.

A statement from Shabtai says 3,000 police will guard the march, while thousands more will be deployed around the city and other locations, including mixed cities. A separate statement from the Jerusalem Police indicates the number of officers guarding the flag march will be closer to 2,000.

Police also note that a number of other events in the coming days, including an all-night student festival and a Jewish pilgrimage to Nabi Samwil in the West Bank just outside East Jerusalem, will require road closures and extra police enforcement and citizen patience.

“Our main task is to ensure that Jerusalem Day events can go ahead properly and safely as every year,” top Jerusalem cop Doron Turgeman says.

He also notes that claims the march will ascend the Temple Mount are false.



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