Israel tightens security in Jerusalem for Jewish day of mourning


In preparation for the thousands of Jews expected to visit the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av, hundreds of additional police will be carrying out security measures in and around Jerusalem.

By i24news, AFP


Israeli police are to boost their presence at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound for a Jewish day of mourning commemorating the destruction of ancient temples there, a spokesman said on Friday.

Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam, is also venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount and is considered the most sacred place in Judaism. – Photo: THOMAS COEX/AFP/FILE

“Hundreds of extra police will be carrying out security measures in and around the old city of Jerusalem” on Tisha B’Av, which begins on Saturday night and ends 25 hours later, Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.

Rosenfeld said thousands of Jews were expected to visit the Western Wall during the day.

Advocates for prayer rights for Jews at the esplanade, the holiest site in Judaism and referred to as the Temple Mount, have called on Jews to visit the sensitive area.

It is Islam’s third holiest site.

Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray there, but the site has been the scene of regular incidents when Jews try to ignore the rule and Muslims intervene to stop them.

In 2013 a young Jewish man was stabbed by two Arab youths as he made his way from the Western Wall to his home after the closing prayers of Tisha B’Av.

Jerusalem has been at the heart of a wave of violence since October in which 219 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese national have died, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

While the number of attacks has declined in recent weeks, Palestinian fears of Israeli intentions to undermine Muslim control of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound were a central component in the violence erupting 10 months ago.

Palestinians argue that Israel is seeking to change the status quo at the compound, a claim that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied.

(Staff with AFP)


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