Rocket and Molotov cocktails mark start to Nakba Day

Army chief: ‘We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst’

Palestinians hurled molotov cocktails at an IDF post near the city of Hebron overnight and a rocket was shot from Gaza into southern Israel early Tuesday as the country braced for protests and violence as Palestinians mark Nakba Day.

No injuries were reported in Hebron, and there were no reports of injuries or damage after the rocket fell in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.

Nakba, or catastrophe, is the Palestinian term for Israel’s founding in 1948. It is marked on May 14 or May 15 each year.

The IDF has deploying on the borders while police forces are beefing up presence at friction points in anticipation of possible Nakba Day clashes. While military intelligence sources said they don’t anticipate a repeat of last year’s events, when hundreds of protesters stormed Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon, Israel is not taking any chances.

A senior IDF officer told Walla News that the army anticipates protests to be limited to Palestinian cities and contained by Palestinian security forces. The official said that military intelligence would be monitoring prayer services at mosques and public broadcasts to detect incitement and calls for violence.

“We anticipate demonstrations, but not at levels we are unaccustomed to,” said the officer.

The IDF has increased presence along the Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Gazan and West Bank borders for fear of attempted terror attacks, as well as to respond to any unexpected developments resulting from clashes between protesters and soldiers.The source said the Army would not let the borders be breached and would “respond appropriately to any attempts to do so.”

“We can’t ignore the recent high tensions and therefore will place commanders at friction points and show as much restraint as possible,” said a senior officer of the Central Command.

During a visit to units in the field, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said, “We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

The police is also on high alert and is preparing to be on hand for any violent flare ups across the country, especially in Jerusalem, the West Bank and in Arab villages in the north.

Emergency Rescue services will also beef up manpower in preparation for being called up to treat multiple injuries in case violence erupts.

Despite the signing of a deal with Palestinian prisoners to bring to an end a massive hunger strike, on Monday, prison services are on alert for riots.

In recent years, Nakba Day has been turned into a political display in support of the Palestinian cause around the world, and has seen some violent eruptions following demonstrations.

Last year, several hundreds of people, mostly Palestinian refugees, tried to storm Israel’s borders from Syria and Lebanon. This year the army expects that military and police forces in neighboring countries will stop a repeat of such attempts.


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