Muslims pray at Temple Mount.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police on Wednesday said heightened security measures have been implemented to ensure the public’s safety as tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers, including from the West Bank and Gaza, ascend the Temple Mount for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan this week.
Thousands of Border Police and Special Patrol units will be stationed in and around the Old City and at security checkpoints leading to Jerusalem, according to Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“Extra coordination is being made this year in order to allow thousands of Palestinians to enter the Temple Mount,” Rosenfeld said. “This includes coordination with buses coming out of Bethlehem and other Palestinian areas, which will be going through security checks and then directly to the Old City.”
Rosenfeld said the preparations have taken into account the sweeping measures announced by the Defense Ministry on Tuesday to help ease travel restrictions for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza during the month long holiday.
Additionally, to accommodate the influx of Muslim worshipers arriving to pray at Al-Aksa Mosque, Rosenfeld said several roads will be closed to traffic around the Old City on Friday.
“Traffic Police will coordinate to ensure there are no issues in the center of town and by the entrances to the Old City,” he said.
Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will be on hand near the Western Wall on Friday to observe police activity and ensure security operations run smoothly, he added.
“We are hoping that there won’t be any incidents, but police units will be in the area and prepared to respond if necessary to any incidents,” he said.