The US Embassy in Israel on Wednesday issued a warning to its employees, telling them to refrain from entering the Old City of Jerusalem this coming Sunday, when the Flag March is slated to take place in the city.
“US citizens are reminded to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness as security incidents often take place without warning. The security environment is complex and can change quickly depending on the political situation and recent events,” said a security alert posted on the Embassy’s website.
Citing “ongoing tensions and potential security issues in the Old City of Jerusalem”, the alert says US government employees and their families are forbidden from entering the Old City after dark (dusk to dawn) or on Fridays; they cannot use Damascus, Herod’s, and Lions’ Gate; and they cannot enter the Old City at any time on Sunday, May 29.
“Damascus Gate will continue to remain off limits after May 29 until further notice,” the alert adds.
Last week, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev decided to permit the Flag March to proceed along its usual route through the Damascus Gate towards the Western Wall.
About 3,000 policemen and Border Police officers will operate in Jerusalem to provide security for the Flag March this coming Sunday, while thousands more will be deployed throughout the country. In addition, it has been decided to bring in three reserve companies from the Border Police and put the reserves on immediate alert.