(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Citing general, constant but unspecified terror warnings, police, following the shooting attack at the Gush Etzion Junction on Sunday, raised the level of alert in preparation for the duration of the week-long Succot holiday set to begin Monday night.
Large police forces will deploy at entertainment spots and entrances to major cities with the main emphasis on securing national parks and the large number of outdoor festivals scheduled over the next week.
In cooperation with the IDF, which has imposed a closure over the territories, police will also beef up forces around seamline communities with the West Bank and other areas such as the Hebron hills that are not blocked off by the security barrier. Police noted the Gush Etzion settlement bloc's vulnerability due to the delay in constructing the barrier in the southern Hebron Hills area where the terrorists, who shot and killed three Israelis, were seen fleeing into.
Police will also focus their activity in the Jerusalem area, particularly in the Old City, which police have rendered a "hot spot" due to the high level of tension between Jews flocking to the Western Wall for Succot prayers and Muslims attending Ramadan services on the Temple Mount.
The Police Helicopter Unit together with the Traffic Police will patrol major highways in an effort to prevent traffic buildups over the holiday as hundreds of thousands of Israelis are expected to visit national parks.
"We are preparing for a variety of events that may occur but with an obvious emphasis on preventing anything terror-related," said Dep.-Cmdr. Yoram Ohayun head of the Israel Police's Operations Division.
Ohayun said the police would do all it could to prevent interaction between Muslims and Jews in the Old City.
"We can try and separate the groups from interacting and coming into contact with one another," he said. "But we, the police, will do everything we can to ensure that all of the religions here in the Middle East are free to practice without restraints."
With violent crime on the rise including stabbings and shootings at nightclubs, Ohayun added that in contrast to previous years, the police would over the holiday also patrol nightclubs and other entertainment spots not just to prevent terror attacks but to ensure revelers could party safely without fear of drive-by shootings or other violent assaults.