RIOT POLICE stand guard in Isawiya yesterday as hundreds of residents demand the removal of concrete barricades at the entrances to the east Jerusalem neighborhood.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Before Sunday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem, police had already increased their actions and presence in the eastern part of the city, especially as the High Holy Days approached, in what they described as an ongoing battle against terrorism and violent crimes.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that police have sought to increase efforts without changing “routine life.”
“We are calling up forces especially for Succot and Yom Kippur to protect the general public’s security and feeling of security,” she said. “We are continuing in normal life. But the other side is, we also make efforts for the citizens to respond to every suspicious person or suspicious car. There are no changes in the routine of life, there are no special instructions.”
But Samri also acknowledged that police face particular challenges in combating “lone-wolf” attackers.
After a wave of mid-September attacks that included the stabbing of two police officers the Old City on September 19, police greatly increased their physical presence and actions in east Jerusalem. As a result of those stabbings, police shuttered Arab-owned shops near Damascus Gate for several hours to conduct an investigation.
On September 22, hundreds of police raided Shuafat and Isawiya in east Jerusalem and arrested at least two dozen people on charges of rioting, illegal possession of firearms, and terrorism.
On October 2 police enlarged their preparations throughout Jerusalem for Rosh Hashana. Police filed indictments that same day against six residents of the Shuafat refugee camp in northeastern Jerusalem accused of forming an ISIS cell and plotting to attack Israelis.
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