After a deadly week along the Gaza border, Israeli forces are prepared for clashes and protests in Jerusalem as thousands of Muslims exit the local mosques on the first Friday of Ramadan. In addition, troops and police officers are on high alert in the West Bank and the Gaza border area.

Palestinians enter Israel via the Kalandia checkpoint

Palestinians enter Israel via the Kalandia checkpoint Photo Credit: Flash 90

Israeli security forces are on high alert in Jerusalem amid fears that Muslims may hold massive protests to mark the first Friday of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. Aside from sending reinforcements to Israel’s capital city, the IDF and Israel Police have deployed additional units to the Gaza border and the West Bank, where mass demonstrations are also expected.

Most of the security forces in Jerusalem are stationed in the eastern part of the city and the Old City because thousands of Muslims are attending Friday prayers there. According to Israeli media, there have been no clashes so far and the security forces have not limited the number of Muslim worshipers at the city’s holy sites. However, the possible protests and clashes are expected later today, when the Muslim worshipers leave the mosques after the holiday prayers.

Over the past week, tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have escalated due to the American embassy transfer to Jerusalem, Nakba Day and the violent clashes along the Gaza border in which over 60 Palestinians were killed. While the security forces do not believe that today’s protests will be difficult to handle, they are aware that the protesters might use a great deal of violence if the sermons delivered during the prayer services deal with the recent events.

Meanwhile, Hamas is encouraging Gaza residents to flock to the border fence this afternoon and clash with Israeli forces. “We are calling on young people to participate in the Friday clashes with determination to honor the dead and strengthen the legitimacy of the resistance,” the terrorist group wrote on its official website.