Israeli Forces on Red Alert for 'Day of Rage' after Week of Deadly Clashes

Published October 6th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli forces were put on top alert across the country on Friday ahead of a "day of rage" planned by Palestinian groups to protest a week of bloody clashes that have killed almost 80 people, reported AFP. 

The police and army are on a "maximum state of alert" to deal with any public disturbances or armed attacks fear, a police spokesman said. 

More than 1,000 police are ready to intervene, particularly around the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound where bloody clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli security forces left a week ago seven people dead, said the agency. 

However, in a rare move, unarmed Palestinian security agents were seen controlling entrances to the compound inside the walled Old City of east Jerusalem after Israel withdrew its police overnight from certain areas around the site, according to the agency. 

The Israeli presence was also discreet in the Old City. 

In the meantime, Jerusalem police chief, Yair Yitzhaki, told The Jerusalem Post newspaper that the "police are prepared for more confrontations on Friday."  

"We have some troubling information about possible developments," Yitzhaki said after a meeting of top Jerusalem police officials in advance of Friday’s "Day of Rage."  

Another Israeli military official, Yitzhak Eitan, warned of possible terror attacks due to the "PA's recent release of Hamas prisoners, many of whom were involved in outrages against Israel." 

Speaking to reporters, Eitan said the "defense establishment is monitoring plans by the PA to release another batch of Hamas terrorists in the coming days," said the paper.  

The move came after renewed violence on Thursday despite a ceasefire accord between Israeli and Palestinian security officials as renewed top-level diplomatic efforts failed to reach an agreement to end the violence. 

Calls for the "day of rage" have been issued by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, militant Islamic groups that are violently opposed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and also PLO's Fateh faction, AFP added. 

"The Zionists should stop the massacres against our people. They should leave our land and our Jerusalem, our Aqsa," a Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said Thursday - (Several Sources) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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