Israel steps up security measures ahead of Jewish new year

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-09 20:19:39|Editor: xuxin
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military imposed a total closure on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, while police beefed up security in Jerusalem early on Sunday, ahead of the Jewish new year.

The military closed all crossings and checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza overnight Saturday, banning Palestinians from entering Israel during the upcoming Jewish new year.

A military spokesperson said in a statement released last week that the closure will last until Wednesday. The reopening is subjected to "security assessment," the spokesperson said, adding that exceptions would be made for humanitarian and emergency medical cases.

Israel considers the main Jewish holiday a possible occasion for attacks by Palestinian militants, therefore regularly close off the occupied territories during these times.

During the three-day holiday, "police units, border police, special patrol units will carry out security measures in cities, around synagogues and public places," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.

The closure also coincides with the Muslim new year on Tuesday, with prayers expected in east Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site to Islam.

At the same time, thousands of Jewish pilgrims are expected to arrive at the Western Wall, just below the hilltop Muslim compound, as part of the Jewish new year rituals, raising fears of possible clashes.

"In Jerusalem, units will carry out security measures in and around the old city and patrol all areas," Rosenfeld said.