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CCTV, Drones Part of New Security at Damascus Gate

June 27th 2017


The plan, a copy of which was obtained by Israel Hayom on Thursday, includes the deployment of a sophisticated network of license plate capture cameras that use specialized software to identify and record license plates on still or moving vehicles; a network of "smart cameras" -- closed-circuit TV cameras equipped with facial recognition software to identify suspects in real time; placing fortified security posts in strategic locations in the area; and setting up a lighting system to simulate daylight.

The Public Security Ministry is also exploring the possibility of making topographical changes in the vicinity of the gate, to eliminate line-of-sight disparities, which may hinder security forces' operations during a terrorist attack.

Another measure currently being explored is the possibility of equipping Border Police stationed in the area with multicopter drones, to provide aerial assistance. The drones would deploy over the area 24/7, providing the troops on the ground with real-time data and intelligence, as well as assist them in locating suspects in the event of a terrorist attack.

The police further plan to set up metal detectors and fences to direct pedestrian traffic to areas under its troops' control.

"The goal is to minimize terrorist attacks in the area as much as possible, while also minimizing any interference with the fabric of life and the area's landscape," a senior officer with the Jerusalem District Police said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been briefed on the plan.

"Damascus Gate has been the scene of numerous terrorist attacks and it has become a symbol of terrorism and the war on terror alike," Netanyahu said. "This is why I asked changes be made [on the ground]. They [the Public Security Ministry and Israel Police] have prepared a plan to increase security and decrease the actions of potential terrorists."

Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference Thursday, Erdan touched on the volatile atmosphere near Damascus Gate.

"They [the Palestinians] know that our sovereignty begins with Jerusalem. The terrorists want to strike at the first point of friction with security forces en route to the Temple Mount and the Old City," he said. "I can tell you that we are about to introduce an unprecedented change in the entire security lineup at Damascus Gate -- cameras, security posts, intelligence, changes on the ground -- we are doing everything to significantly minimize terrorist attacks at this location."

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