Israel Boosts Security Ahead of Palestinian U.N. Bid


Israel on Friday will raise its level of security alertness in case unrest accompanies Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's application for U.N. membership for a Palestinian state, police said.

"We will be heightening security by one level in general. This is being coordinated by the military, border police and Israel police," police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Agence France Presse.

He said later that 22,000 police would be deployed nationwide -- representing more than two-thirds of the force -- and that the alert level would be raised to three, just one below the level during times of war.

There will be limited access to the city's flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers and men under 50 will not be allowed.

Rosenfeld said police were also deploying additional personnel in sensitive areas such as cities where Jews and Arabs live in close proximity.

An Israeli army spokesman, Captain Arye Shalicar, said the military would show "restraint" in dealing with unrest, "providing the minimal effective response, using riot dispersal means as required by the severity of the disturbances."

Tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied across the West Bank on Wednesday in a massive show of support for the campaign to become a member state at the United Nations.