Expecting chaos, Israel security forces prepare ahead of Friday prayers

Ahead of Friday prayers, Israel has bolstered IDF, Israel Police and Israeli Border Police forces throughout Jerusalem in expectation of escalating violence after Palestinian leadership called for direct confrontations and a third intifada in response to the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Violence erupted across Israel and Palestinian territories Photo Credit: Sky News/Channel 2 News

Israeli security forces are reportedly preparing ahead of Friday prayers in Jerusalem after a number of security assessments concluded that tomorrow (Friday) will likely be more chaotic than today. Furthermore, after two rockets were fired from Gaza this evening, the IDF does not rule out the possibility that the Gaza Strip may join the violence.

Earlier this evening, a 30-year-old man was mildly injured after a rock was thrown at a bus on Route 65 near Umm al-Fahm. Despite the impact and damage, the bus continued towards the police station in Ein Iron, where the injured man was treated by Magen David Adom personnel.  Meanwhile, rocks were also thrown at vehicles driving along Route 443 near Ofer Prison, located at the northern entrance to Jerusalem. One person was treated for light injuries.

Bus damaged by rocks thrown in Wadi Ara Photo Credit: Magen David Adom Spokesperson/Channel 2 News

The directive given to IDF soldiers ahead of Friday’s expected riots is to show as much restraint as possible until the situation becomes life-threatening. The Israeli security establishment is making every effort to prevent deaths, out of the understanding that such an outcome would ignite the area, even more. Meanwhile, IDF forces have strengthened in numbers and soldiers that were sent home for the weekend have been called back for duty.

Violent riots across Palestinian villages Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Although there are no specific details regarding tomorrow’s intended disruptions, the IDF is preparing for the possibility of renewed rioting along the Gaza Strip border during hours of prayer in Jerusalem, where both Israel Police and IDF Border Police forces have been bolstered. Though at the moment there is no intention of restricting Arab worshippers from entering the Temple Mount, Israel Police commanders in Jerusalem have been instructed to respond quickly and firmly to any disruptions.

Israeli security forces prepare to respond with restraint to disruptions Photo Credit: SkyNews/Channel 2 News

 As previously reported by JOL, the IDF fired at two Hamas positions in the central Gaza Strip, in response to two rockets launched earlier in the evening towards Israel. During the day, some 100 Palestinians were reportedly injured, most of which sustained mild injuries during violent riots throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s call on the Palestinians to launch a third intifada has received great attention, both in the territories and in the entire Arab world, and as a likely display of unity, Hamas members will reportedly visit Hebron Friday afternoon to participate in a joint demonstration with Fatah.

Amit Boukai

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Amit Boukai

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