Police say they are gearing up for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in Jerusalem, anticipating thousands of visitors to the city.
“The purpose of the preparation and police activity in Jerusalem during Ramadan is to enable freedom of worship… while maintaining security, law and public order,” a police statement says.
Officials at the police’s Jerusalem district have held meetings in recent days with various local officials and community leaders to coordinate the holiday activities.
On Fridays, there will be an increased presence of police officers throughout Jerusalem, especially in the Old City and near the Temple Mount, as numerous worshipers are expected to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Police say they are also preparing for Passover and Easter, which will take place during Ramadan this year. “Police will act to secure all the worshipers who will arrive at the holy places on these days, Muslims, Jews and Christians, with the aim of allowing everyone freedom of worship,” the statement says.
Additionally, police officials warn of “those who try to take advantage of the holidays to spread inciteful material on social media, false rumors and disinformation, in particular in relation to the holy places.”
Police say terror groups and other terror elements have in the past used Ramadan to incite and cause rioting in Jerusalem. The statement says police will act “without compromise against rioters and those breaking the law, who harm or attempt to harm those who pray and celebrate, or who use the holidays to harm civilians or security forces.”
Ramadan is expected to begin on Thursday.