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Police chief warns of dozens of alerts for terror attacks in coming days

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai warned Tuesday that the country is facing dozens of terror threats during the ongoing High Holiday period, and that security force would take measures to counter the danger.

Speaking at a weekly meeting of senior police staff, Shabtai instructed that all officers be refreshed on relevant procedures as they secure the coming Sukkot holiday, which begins on Friday night.

“We are still very much on alert for the High Holidays, with dozens of warnings and intentions to carry out terrorist attacks,” Shabtai said. “I am asking everyone today to refresh procedures on the ground, for high vigilance, quick response to events, and visibility and presence in crowded places.”

He said police should place an emphasis on recreation and leisure sites, hiking trails, and places of worship.

Shabtai noted that Yom Kippur, which was marked Sunday night and Monday, passed without any terror incidents.

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“The general quiet is deceiving and can shift in an instant, so we must maintain a high level of vigilance,” he warned.

Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai addresses a State Control Committee meeting at the Knesset on June 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In the weeks leading up to the three-week High Holiday period, which began earlier this month, there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of alerts of possible terror attacks, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

As part of the ongoing measures being taken, thousands of police will be deployed to Jerusalem with a focus on its Old City, a popular gathering point for religious celebrations during Sukkot. The festival includes a mass priestly blessing event at the Western Wall that attracts thousands.

The heightened readiness will continue until at least the end of the coming Sukkot holiday, which ends October 6.

On Sunday, three Palestinian terror groups announced plans to escalate their fight against Israel and to increase cooperation between them. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine made the statement after a meeting of top officials in Beirut.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces arrested eight Hamas operatives from Bir Zeit University who were allegedly planning to carry out imminent terror attacks.

In addition, there were three shooting incidents in the West Bank, none of which caused injuries. Shots were fired at the Hinanit settlement in the northern West Bank, one of which hit the window of a home. The Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the incident. Shots was also fired at an army vehicle near Avnei Hefetz and at a military post near the city of Shuweika, also in the northern West Bank.

The incidents came alongside continued daily rioting by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip along the border with Israel.

On Monday evening, the Israel Defense Forces hit a Hamas military post in the the Palestinian enclave after there was gunfire toward IDF troops during disturbances by dozens of Gazan rioters along the border.