Israel Police will be stepping up security at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City ahead of Friday's prayers, despite the fact that it has not received any specific warnings of possible riots at the site, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Thursday during a special assessment meeting with senior police officials amid mounting tensions in the Muslim world over an amateur film that denigrates Islam.
The minister said police would also step up security near foreign embassies and consulates.
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Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a larger number of officers would be deployed around the Old City, where the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, is located.
Islamic Movement protest at US Embassy in Tel Aviv (Photo: Reuters)
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv has warned American nationals residing in Israel that disturbances are expected to take place in the Old City and recommended that they avoid the area.
"US citizens are advised to defer non-essential travel to the Old City and to generally exercise an extra measure of caution," the embassy said on its website.
"We remind US citizens that due to the possibility of demonstrations throughout the West Bank, the US Consulate General has limited both official and personal travel in the West Bank until further notice. US citizens are advised to defer non-essential travel to, and within, the West Bank and to exercise an extra measure of caution," it said.
"We also take this opportunity to remind US citizens that demonstrations, even peaceful ones, can turn violent with little or no warning. US citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times, and avoid large crowds."
Meanwhile, the UPI news agency reported that Jordanian security forces have increased security around the Israeli embassy and near the residences of the ambassador and other Israeli diplomats.
During the high holidays, thousands of Israeli police and Border Guard officers will be deployed at entrances to cities, entertainment hubs, synagogues and in sensitive areas such as the Seam Line (between the West Bank separation fence and the Green Line).
Earlier Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said US government had nothing to do with a film about the Prophet Mohammad that has triggered anti-American riots in Muslim countries.
The film, apparently produced in the United States, sparked an attack on a US mission in Libya on Tuesday that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. Clips posted on the Internet show an amateurish production portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser.