Israeli police ratcheted up security in and around the Old City of Jerusalem Monday morning, in anticipation of the Priestly Blessing (Birkat HaKohanim) ceremony set to take place in the Western Wall Plaza.
The mass blessing ceremony, which regularly draws tens of thousands to the Old City on holidays, is slated to take place at 9:15 a.m. Monday, and again on Wednesday.
With Passover this year coinciding with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and following days of Arab riots and a spate of violent attacks on Jews in the area, Israeli security forces have deployed 2,500 police officers and Border Police officers to secure the Birkat HaKohanim ceremony.
Amid concerns the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups could take the opportunity to try to further escalate tensions in Jerusalem, Jerusalem district police chief Doron Turgeman urged Israeli Muslim leaders to “demonstrate responsibility” and discourage violent acts, Israel Hayom reported.
Turgeman said that there were currently no specific known threats of terror attacks.
On Sunday, Arabs attempted to block Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount by placing stones at the passageways used by Jews. Five people were injured when stones were thrown at buses carrying worshipers to the Western Wall.
The violence comes following a string of Arab terror attacks across Israel, including a stabbing attack in Haifa on Friday.