JERUSALEM - The police are tightening security around the Temple Mount amid fears that far-right extremists may attempt to target the holy Muslim site in a bid to stall the Gaza pullout.
Special sensors and closed-circuit cameras are expected to be installed at sensitive areas and security has been stepped up at the site.
Meanwhile, senior IDF intelligence officer Yossi Kuperwasser warned terrorists could use a planned right-wing rally at the Mount as a pretext to end the current lull in violence.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas “wants to act against the (terror) groups, but can’t,” Kuperwasser told the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee Monday.
Officials monitoring Jewish extremists
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad may view the plan to bring 10,000 people to the site on April 10 as a reason to resume terror attacks.
Muslims have already announced they would block the rally with their bodies, while the Jerusalem police said they would only allow small groups of Jews to visit the Mount, in accordance with current regulations.
The defense establishment is monitoring hardcore far-right activists, a group believed to number some 500 persons. Only some have access to arms but all have a
common goal: to carry out terror acts in a bid to achieve political goals.
The greatest concern involves dozens of anonymous activists, who until recently had been unknown to police.
Better-known right wing activists such as Noam Federman, Itamar Ben Gvir, and their associates have long been under the surveillance of the Shin Bet and police.
Electronic security system
Last week, police announced several far-right extremists have been banned from the Temple Mount in a bid to prevent possible clashes.
In response to increasing threats on the Mount, the Internal Security Ministry and police forces decided to set up a system of electronic sensors at a cost of about NIS 100 million (about USD 23 million).
The sensors are to be installed around the walls of the mount and are designed to alert security forces in the event of an attempted in the area. However, Police are skeptical as to whether the massive security plan would in fact be put into effect before the planned Gaza pullout slated for July.
The Temple Mount - a volcano
For years the Temple Mount has been viewed as a “volcano” that may erupt at the slightest provocation, leading to severe local and international ramifications.
The Shin Bet is seriously preparing for the possibility that right-wing activists may try to engulf the area in flames as part of their efforts to thwart the disengagement plan.
“Attacking the Temple Mount could result in a massive resposne against the State of Israel not just by the Palestinians, but by the entire Islamic world,” one official said.
He said the defense establishment is making every effort to foil any attempt to disrupt the calm at the Temple Mount and has stepped up its intelligence and security forces.
Police have examined a series of deadly scenarios in recent months, including the following:
- Mortar attack on the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives
- An explosive device at the entrance to the Temple Mount
- An explosive drone aimed at targeting worshippers
- Grenades attack on worshippers
- Gunfire directed at worshippers
-Guy Meital and Attila Somfalvi also contributed to this report