Security preparations are underway in Israel for Thursday’s annual Flag march celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The march, typically featuring thousands of Israeli youths waving Israeli flags, is part of annual Jerusalem Day festivities. Its route passes through Damascus Gate and proceeds through the Old City to the Western Wall. Marchers do not enter the adjacent Temple Mount.
More than 2,000 police officers will be assigned to guard the march’s route through the Old City, and more than 1,000 security personnel will be on duty at other celebratory events in the Israeli capital.
This year’s march comes less than a week after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended five days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. During the hostilities, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired some 1,500 rockets at Israel.
Jerusalem police on Tuesday rehearsed scenarios involving the renewal of rocket fire from Gaza.
Gaza terrorist groups have vowed to oppose any so-called “Israeli aggression” against the Al-Aqsa mosque or violation of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire reached in May 2021 following that month’s war (“Operation Guardian of the Walls”).
The May 2021 war was initiated by Hamas firing two rockets at Jerusalem as that year’s flag march was about to begin.
The Times of Israel quoted senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil as saying on Wednesday that “the Zionist flag march will not pass, and the response will inevitably come.”
Ibna al-Zuwari, a terrorist “independent balloon unit” in the Gaza Strip responsible for launching incendiary balloons into Israeli, said in a statement on its Telegram channel on Wednesday it would resume its balloon attacks during Jerusalem Day and that its members would also riot along the Israeli border.
The Hamas-affiliated Gaza Shehab news agency reported that a Palestinian flag march would take place on Thursday near the border, east of Gaza City.
On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said during a press briefing that Washington would “continue to urge the parties to refrain from actions and rhetoric and activities that would inflame tensions.
“We believe in the right for individuals to express themselves and to do so peacefully,” Patel said.