After shootings, West Bank police on highest alert
Mission made more challenging as many residents head to Jerusalem for Ramadan prayers at the Temple Mount.
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Judea and Samaria Police have significantly increased their presence on the ground and have raised the security alert to its highest level in response to this week’s double terrorist attacks.The police district has boosted its number of officers – some of whom have been “borrowed” from neighboring districts – and upped the number of patrol cars on the West Bank’s roads.“We are fully deployed on the ground at the moment, and are ready to respond to any eventuality,” a police source said on Thursday.Officers will be almost exclusively tasked with focusing on security-related patrols on the ground, maintaining visibility, and staying in close touch with the IDF.Their mission will be made more challenging by the fact that the final Friday of Ramadan has arrived, meaning that more Palestinian vehicles will be on the roads than usual, as many West Bank residents head to Jerusalem to pray at the Temple Mount.Boosting officer numbers is aimed at reassuring members of the public, and improving the police force’s ability to provide operational responses as swiftly as possible to any future attacks.At the same time, the officers, who do not travel in bulletproof vehicles, could themselves become targets of terrorist gunmen opening fire on Israel targets, as was the case in June when F.-Sgt. Yehushua “Shuki” Sofer, 39, who served in the Hebron police sub-district for 14 years, was shot dead in an ambush.There are no known plans to introduce armored police vehicles into service at this time, due to budgetary constraints, though officers could soon be traveling through the area with bulletproof vests and helmets, as they did during the peak of the second intifada.Special training to identify the source of gunfire directed at officers and rapidly return fire could also become a regular feature.
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