Israel braces for violence ahead of last Friday of Ramadan

Public Security Ministry officials say Shin Bet unable to obtain advanced intelligence on riots planned and must step up their game after operating 'in the dark' at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the past month

Elior Levy|Updated:
Jerusalem Police was on Wednesday, preparing for Friday prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque, at the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan.
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  • Riots have broken out on the site repeatedly for the past month after Palestinians collected rocks and other material to use against police forces and Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall.
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    עימותים בהר הבית
    Palestinians hurl stones at police at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound earlier this month
    (Photo: AFP )
    Earlier this month, forces broke into the mosque and arrested hundreds of rioters, mostly residents of east Jerusalem and some from the West Bank or Arab communities in Israel.
    Senior officials at the Public Security Ministry and the Shin Bet Security Agency were unprepared for the violence and said that they lack sufficient intelligence on preparations made in advance, by rioters.
    "Police were forced to operate in the dark," one official said, "and could only react to events unfolding."
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    עימותים ב הר הבית ידויי אבנים
    עימותים ב הר הבית ידויי אבנים
    Palestinians hurl stones at police at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound earlier this month
    (Photo: AFP )
    Speaking to Ynet, the officials said that the police identified the Israeli Arab area of Wadi Ara, in northern Israel as a source of some of the extreme rioters who were inciting others on social media. Still, they said no intelligence was available ahead of time as to the role Israeli citizens would play in the riots.
    The lack of intelligence was identified during the May 2021 riots in mixed Jewish and Arab cities. The police at the time, was unprepared and only after three days was able to muster the manpower needed to contain them.
    Some personnel were summoned from the forces' reserve units and others were transferred from other hotspots, in efforts to prevent a more dangerous outburst of violent clashes.
    The responsibility though, is on the Shin Bet to obtain intelligence and they are seen by the officials as uninformed when it comes to Arab Israelis
    The police took upon themselves to establish an intelligence unit that will coordinate with all other security agencies, which has thus far succeeded in foiling attacks and has identified numerous inciters on social media.
    "The Shin Bet understands it must up its game when it comes to intelligence gathering, so that the police, as well as other agencies, would be able to act, conduct preventive detentions, breakup groups of bad actors and remove inciteful content from the web.
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    כוחות יס"מ בהר הבית
    כוחות יס"מ בהר הבית
    Police forces enter the Al Aqsa Mosque compound during riots there earlier this month
    (Photo: AFP )
    This week is the last Friday of Ramadan and will be a test of the advanced intelligence the force will have, as violent clashes are expected.
    In preparation, troop deployment has been increased in Jerusalem.
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    עימותים בהר הבית
    עימותים בהר הבית
    Protesters riot outside the Al Aqsa Mosque earlier this month
    (Photo: AFP )
    The Shin Bet said in response that it is working in full cooperation with the police to end the violence on Temple Mount.
    The intelligence provided by the agency has contributed to the arrest of many and the prevention of violence. The Shin Bet will continue to cooperate with its partners in order to protect Israelis.





    First published: 15:42, 04.27.22
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