Israel Military to Enhance Control in Jerusalem Due to Possible Unrest on Friday
The Israeli army command has formed additional battalions to control the security situation on the Temple Mount and West Bank due to possible Palestinian unrest, which may take place on Friday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) press service said Thursday.
Israeli military expects Friday will become a culmination day for protests of local Palestinian communities against metal detectors installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount, which is the third holiest site in Islam.
"Following the assessment of the situation carried out by the General Staff today, a decision was taken to use five battalions as an emergency reserve on the eve of Friday," the press service said.
A former Israeli army officer told Sputnik that a battalion consists of about 600 people.
According to the press service, the reserve battalions have been in a state of high operational readiness, however, the decision to use them may be changed after the next assessment scheduled for Friday.
On July 14, two Israeli police officers died and another one was wounded after three armed assailants opened fire at the Temple Mount complex.
The police pursued and killed the assailants.
Following the attack, the site was cleared of visitors and closed off to carry out searches.
The Israeli authorities also decided to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount and mount video cameras to monitor what is happening on its territory.
The Islamic religious trust Waqf, which administers the Temple Mount, called on Muslims not to pass through the metal detectors installed by the Israeli police.
Many Muslims have followed this call and started to pray on streets and clash with the police.
On Fridays, thousands of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs usually gather the Temple Mount to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israeli authorities expect that many of them will refuse to go through the detectors and start clashing with police.
The Temple Mount is under the autonomous administration of the Waqf and only the followers of Islam can pray on the site while representatives of other religious traditions are allowed to visit it freely.
Events on the Temple Mount and even rumors about Israel's alleged plans to restore Jewish presence at the site have several times become a catalyst for large-scale escalations of the Middle East conflict with many victims on both sides.