Tensions soaring ahead of Jerusalem Day flag march

Israeli security on high alert as Hamas reportedly began preparing rocket launchers for Sunday.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

As Palestinian terror groups reportedly began preparing rocket launchers, Israeli security forces were placed on high alert ahead of Sunday’s Jerusalem Day flag march.

The Palestinians have threatened violence over Israeli plans for a flag march through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Channel 12 News reported that Israel conveyed messages to Hamas through international mediators that the march will go on as planned, along with warnings of swift IDF retaliation for any rocket fire. Israel also stressed that the march’s route is no different than in previous years.

Hebrew media reports say 3,000 police officers will be deployed to secure the march and additional mobile bomb shelters are being sent to southern Israel.

The reports also said that U.S. Ambassador Thomas Nides has expressed his concerns with Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, but has not requested that the route be changed. However, the Times of Israel reported that the Biden administration is pushing Israeli officials to reroute the march.

Hamas and Hezbollah rhetoric has escalated in recent days, with Hamas describing the march as “a powder keg that will explode the whole area,” while Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah claimed that any “aggression” against the Al Aqsa Mosque will lead to a “big explosion in Palestine.”

The annual flag march has never entered the Temple Mount.

The march will be limited to 16,000 participants, with half entering the Old City through Damascus Gate, and the rest through Jaffa Gate. The limit on crowd size is due to concerns for the safety of large gatherings of people following the Meron tragedy, in which 45 people were killed in a stampede during the holiday of Lag B’Omer in 2021.

Jerusalem Day marks the anniversary of the city’s reunification during the Six-Day War of 1967.