Police at a security barricade in the Old City of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Less than 48 hours after terrorists killed a female Border Police officer guarding the Old City’s Damascus Gate and wounded two others in the Muslim Quarter, police arrested 350 Arab suspects who illegally entered Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Noting that the three assailants who carried out Friday night’s coordinated attacks that took the life of St.-Sgt.- Maj. Hadas Malka, 23, came unlawfully from the village of Deir Abu Mash’al near Ramallah, police enforced a massive crackdown.
“Police security measures are continuing at the Damascus Gate and around the walls of the Old City, with special patrol units and SWAT teams that are arresting suspects and removing individuals from the area to keep it safe,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld on Sunday.
Israeli police react to deadly Jerusalem terror attack, June 17, 2017. (Credit: Israel Police)
“Over the weekend, 350 Palestinians who entered Jerusalem illegally were arrested to prevent any more attacks.”
According to Rosenfeld, hundreds of extra officers have been deployed in and around the Old City to locate potential suspects and ensure the last week of Ramadan concludes without incident.
Additionally, several roadblocks leading to the east Jerusalem entrance to the Old City have been set up to help police monitor all suspicious activity.
“Certain areas have been closed off in order to make sure that we have a clear advantage on the ground in terms of closely monitoring potential suspects and suspicious activities, while ensuring rapid response times at different areas,” Rosenfeld said.
“We have one week of Ramadan ahead of us and one more Friday prayer ahead of us with thousands of people coming to the Temple Mount, so we want to allow Israeli Arabs and Palestinians to arrive there so they can take part in the festival.
But at the same time, security and preventing other terrorist attacks is our top priority.”
Rosenfeld added that no restrictions are being enforced against Palestinians from the West Bank who have procured legal permits to enter Jerusalem and that no age restrictions for men allowed to enter the Temple Mount are being imposed.
While the volatile east Jerusalem entrance has been heavily secured following Friday’s coordinated attacks, and visitation by Muslims to the Temple Mount have not been limited, Rosenfeld said on Sunday morning that two Arab suspects were arrested for attacking police.
“This morning there were attempts by radical Muslims to disrupt the routine of visits to the Temple Mount during the final days of Ramadan,” he said.
“Police arrested two suspects who attacked officers who were injured lightly and treated at the scene. The suspects were brought in for questioning to the police station in the Old City by Jaffa Gate, and visits to the Temple Mount resumed.”
Rosenfeld added that thousands of people attended Malka’s funeral in Ashdod Saturday night, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, the head of the Border Police, MKs, officers, and family and friends.
With regard to ISIS claims of responsibility for Friday’s bloodshed, Rosenfeld said the three suspects coordinated between themselves.
“They planned the attacks together and illegally entered Israel and made their way into Jerusalem to carry them out,” he said. “ISIS’s claims are false, although one of the suspects may have been affiliated with Hamas.”
Meanwhile, Rosenfeld emphasized, “A significant police presence can be felt in the area around the walls of the Old City and the different quarters.”