Highest State of Alert before Passover

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli police nationwide have been placed on the highest state of alert as the Passover holiday approaches.

A police statement released Thursday said preparations are underway to deploy thousands of police in a three-tier layer extending from Judea and Samaria to the centers of Israeli cities.

Jerusalem

"There are no concrete terrorist threats, but there are general alerts," said Shmuel Ben-Ruby, spokesman for Jerusalem Police.

Border Police and volunteers will supplement the police officers around the nation's capital. Beefed-up security will be present at hotels, synagogues, shopping centers, the Old City and roads leading to the eastern half of the city.

"We will secure worshippers at the Kotel [Western Wall] and pilgrims who arrive at the Temple Mount for Birkat Kohanim [the priestly blessing]. There will also be Christian religious marches and next week a flame will be lit at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We will provide security for all these events," Ben-Ruby said.

Tel Aviv

Roadblocks set up at entrances to the city will scrutinize incoming traffic. Beefed up police sapper units will patrol city streets.

In the North

More than 1,500 policemen will be deployed in the north, near the borders with Syria and Lebanon.

"Today we have deployed police in shopping centers and other crowded places that attract Pesach [Passover] shoppers," said Northern Police District spokesman Mark Weitzman.

"That's how it is -- some police officers will rest, others will work according to shift schedules. We must provide 24-hour protection. We're doing our utmost so citizens feel safe," he said. "I hope the holiday passes peacefully."

In the South

Southern Israeli cities and towns, which have been vulnerable to rocket attacks from Gaza, are also on the highest levels of alert during the holiday.

"We have a number of front lines with Gaza and Judea and Samaria, and we will be on the lookout for attempted infiltrations into Israel," said Southern District Operations Commander Peretz Amar.

"Every attempt to cross into the country requires us to respond with roadblocks and to work with the IDF," he said, adding that three security zones have been laid out along the country's southern order from Eilat to the Rafah border crossing.

In addition, extra security personnel are deployed around the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi and other favorite destinations of Israeli families and tourists during the Pesach holiday.

Security forces in the south are on highest alert for terrorists attempting to enter the country from the Egyptian Sinai.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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