Sunday, August 21, 2011

21-Aug-11: Jerusalem in focus again

Jerusalem's largest shopping mall attracts Israelis of every
strand - Moslems, Jews, Christians and everyone else. Security is noticeably
upgraded there this evening. 
While missiles continue to rain down on the southern regions of Israel, and the death toll of Israelis since Thursday stands at 9, there are high level warnings here in Jerusalem of a possible terrorist threat tonight.

Warnings of this sort don't happen every day, and tend to be taken fairly seriously by this city's beleaguered residents.

The terror alert was elevated significantly this (Sunday) afternoon on the basis of intelligence pointing to a planned terrorist attack in the city. Police patrols have been strengthened and temporary checkpoints have been thrown up in the last few hours on the road between Mt Scopus and the Jerusalem Ma'aleh Adumim as well as along Route 443 at the busy Maccabim and Ofer junctions. Needless to say there are significant disruptions to traffic. JPost reports jams stretching back 10 km.

Younger members of our family were in the largest of Jerusalem's malls this evening, and noted the higher levels of security. Responding to their parents discomfort and anxiety, they came home earlier than planned. The Pisgat Ze'ev shopping mall, a few minutes drive from where we live in the northern part of Jerusalem, was evacuated by the authorities.

Reinforcing the tension in the city, dozens of Islamic worshipers tried to force their way through a police checkpoint outside the Old City's Damascus Gate, causing a riot that was broken up by police using riot control equipment including water cannons and shock grenades. Several arrests were made.

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