Israel Bolsters Security in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem as Ramadan Approaches
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Security officials are sending more police and soldiers to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Jerusalem in advance of the month-long holiday of Ramadan, which begins Wednesday and Thursday.
Recent terror attacks in both Judea and Samaria have already elevated tensions, and police presence will be noticeably heavier around the time of Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Old City mosques.
This year, Ramadan, Passover and Easter converge in early April, and police say hundreds of thousands more Muslims, Jews and Christians are expected to visit Jerusalem and the surrounding area, meaning greater activity at checkpoints and on streets and roads.
Security officials say they will be gathering intelligence and monitoring potential incitement and threats of violence from "police awareness" headquarters in different locations, throughout Ramadan, which ends on April 21st.
The Jerusalem Post reports that police have made "preemptive" arrests for several weeks, in cases where intelligence reports indicate a high threat of violence. They've also delivered a warning to “those who try to take advantage of the holidays to spread incitement on social media, false rumors and disinformation, in particular in relation to the holy places.”
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also issued a directive to police in cities with a mixed Jewish-Arab population.
The directive to Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai was aimed at cities such as Lod in central Israel, where violence broke out in anti-Jewish riots in 2021. Ben-Gvir wrote that an enhanced presence of officers "will allow an immediate response to the expected events, providing security and a sense of security to the citizens in these cities, both Jews and Arabs."
Law enforcement authorities promised to 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.”
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