Police apprehend Jewish, Arab suspects attempting to disrupt Peres's ceremony

"We arrested Jews and Arabs who may have threatened or tried to terrorize Peres's funeral."

September 29, 2016 20:11
1 minute read.
Shimon Peres memorial

Rivlin pays last respects to Peres at Knesset memorial. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Authorities arrested a number of Jewish and Arab suspects thought to have posed a security risk or threat to the funeral proceedings of former president Shimon Peres on Friday.

"We arrested Jews and Arabs who may have threatened or tried to terrorize Peres's funeral," said Police Chief Roni Alsheich during a press conference.

Alsheich added that "there are a few sources that we identify as threatening or trying to cause provocations. I won't go into detail, but this includes Jews and Arabs related to terror, provocation or personal threats."

A ceremony was held in honor for Peres Thursday at the Knesset following his death the previous morning.

The Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Thursday completed preparations for an unprecedented operation to protect over 60 world leaders who are arriving in Israel for the Friday funeral of the late president.

The domestic intelligence agency said in a statement on Thursday that its units will provide an “intelligence and technological envelope, which includes the use of advanced technological means.”

The ISA described the operation as “unprecedented,” adding that it was being led by the VIP Protection Unit. Twenty presidents, 15 foreign ministers, five heads of states, and additional dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral ceremony on Mount Herzl.

Hundreds of ISA Security Branch personnel will, together with the Israel Police, form overt and covert circles of defense, the ISA said. The operation began on Thursday, and will end when the world leaders depart the country.

The Shin Bet is in touch with counterparts from around the world to coordinate security arrangements.

“Altogether, 8,000 police officers are taking part in the two-day operation,” a police spokesperson said, adding that additional security units, such as ambulances and fire and rescue services, have been reinforced by dozens of teams.

Peres died Wednesday morning after suffering from complications stemming from a severe stroke that struck the former president two-weeks prior.

Peres was rushed to Sheeba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer on September 13, and was placed under the care of his personal physician and son-in-law Dr. Rafi Walden before succumbing to his illness. He was 93.

Daniel K. Eisenbud and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this article.

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