JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police plan to deploy hundreds of officers to Jerusalem's Old City next week, a spokesman said Thursday, in a bid to secure an annual march commemorating Israel's capture of east Jerusalem that may coincide with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Tensions were high ahead of Sunday's event, with follows an eight-month-long outburst of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has lessened recently but occasionally flares up. On Thursday, the military said a knife-wielding Palestinian woman was shot and killed as she tried to stab a soldier at a West Bank checkpoint.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said some 2,000 officers would be sent to secure Sunday's march, which is expected to draw some 30,000 people celebrating the "unification" of Jerusalem following the 1967 Mideast war. Ramadan, which draws tens of thousands of worshippers to a sensitive holy site in the Old City, could begin Sunday evening.
Rosenfeld said police intend to make sure the marchers and Muslim faithful do not cross paths, hoping to ensure that "there will be no incidents whatsoever."
Over the last eight months, Palestinian attacks have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. About 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time. Israel says most were attackers and the rest were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
The assaults were once near-daily incidents but they have become less frequent in recent weeks.