Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a massive call-up on Saturday of Border Police forces in an effort to quell the ongoing wave of unrest and violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories that has seen a week of almost daily terror attacks against Israelis.
The PM “approved the mobilization of 13 Border Police companies, in addition to the three that have already been mobilized,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Saturday.
The three companies called up earlier were of Border Police reservists who will be deployed mostly in and around Jerusalem starting Sunday, Ynet reported.
The total number of those mobilized could reach 1,300-2,000.
The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office called the bolstered police presence a “primary preventive and deterrent measure.”
“I have ordered the mobilization of Border Police companies in order to restore security and order in Jerusalem and around the country. We will continue to do all that is necessary,” Netanyahu said, according to the statement.
In addition to the capital, reservists will be deployed along major highways, after motorists on Road 6 outside Kfar Saba were pelted with rocks by residents of the nearby Palestinian city of Qalqiliya earlier this week.
On Sunday, Netanyahu will convene a discussion regarding Palestinian incitement, an issue he has repeatedly claimed is responsible for the ongoing terrorism against Israelis.
According to the statement from his office, Netanyahu has ordered security officials to come up with measures to combat the anti-Israeli messages and incitement coming from Israel’s own Islamic Movement group.
Israel has deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the southern cities of Beersheba and Ofakim, it was announced Saturday, amidst concerns of increased rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
According to Ynet, the two batteries join those deployed in Sderot and Netivot in recent weeks as tensions with Palestinians have increased.
A rocket fired into Israel overnight exploded in the Eshkol region, causing no injuries.
While communities near Gaza have suffered the brunt of rocket-fire from Gaza throughout the years, Beersheba has also seen rocket attacks during times of conflict.
The Gaza Strip had been mainly calm during the recent unrest, but clashes along the border Friday, in which seven Palestinians were killed, heightened fears that a wider Palestinian uprising, or intifada, could erupt.
Riots broke out Friday east of Gaza City and Khan Yunis along the border with the Jewish state. The Israeli army said there had been “multiple violent attempts to storm the border fence” and “1,000 rioters infiltrated the buffer zone,” throwing a “grenade, rocks and rolled burning tyres” at the soldiers.
“After firing warning shots, forces on site responded with fire towards main instigators in order to prevent their advance and disperse the riot,” a statement said.
Seven Palestinians were killed, including a 15-year-old, and 145 were wounded, medics said.
Five Palestinians died on Saturday, shot by Israeli security forces at two separate scenes of violence – one in Jerusalem and another along border fence with Israel. Meanwhile, four Israelis were injured in stabbing attacks.
Two Palestinians, aged 12 and 15, were shot dead by Israeli security forces along the Gaza border fence while taking part in protests. In separate violence in Jerusalem, three Palestinians assailants were killed by Israeli police.
At least one of the Palestinians killed was a member of Hamas, the militant group said in a statement, calling him a “hero martyr.”
The Palestinians in Jerusalem were shot dead after attacking Israelis with knives, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that at least four Israelis had been stabbed in separate attacks near the Old City’s Damascus Gate on Saturday.
More clashes broke out near the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah, while the unrest also spread to several other Arab towns in Israel. Scores of Palestinians have been injured, over a dozen by gunfire, Reuters reported, citing the Palestinian Red Crescent.
The new wave of violence has been ongoing for over a week, with daily reports of victims coming from the region. Four Israelis and 21 Palestinians have been killed in Jerusalem, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Gaza, and in Israeli cities during 11 days of bloodshed, Reuters reported.
Amid daily clashes involving shootings and stabbings, thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets. While some have been rallying to condemn the violence, others are demanding revenge.
On Saturday afternoon, thousands of students from Palestinian universities gathered in a square near their educational facilities in Gaza and marched to the legislative council, condemning the Israeli violence against Palestinians of recent days, Ruptly reported. At the same time, thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of a Palestinian who was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in the Shufat Refugee Camp earlier in the day, Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported. With flags raised, participants chanted slogans urging resistance and demanding revenge.
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