Israel elections: Police urge settlers to carry guns on voting day
Israeli police urged settlers and citizens to carry guns on election day, as the army deployed additional troops into the occupied West Bank fearing potential attacks, public broadcaster Kan reported.
Police on Sunday told licensed and well-trained gun-owners to keep their weapons on them on Tuesday and in the near future.
The recommendation came after one Israeli settler was killed and nine others were wounded by Palestinians in two separate attacks in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Jericho over the weekend.
Israeli security agencies said it received dozens of alerts in recent days about attacks in the West Bank.
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The army pushed another 200 soldiers into the West Bank on Sunday as it announced a military closure on Palestinian cities and towns on Tuesday, while the country votes in its fifth general election in just over three years.
The closure will start on midnight Tuesday and last for 24 hours. Checkpoints and crossings in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be closed, and passage will be allowed only for exceptional medical and humanitarian cases, according to the army.
At the same time, Palestinian labourers who work inside Israel will have their work permits suspended for 48 hours.
The Israeli government said earlier this year that it will be forming a "civilian national guard", made up of units of civilian volunteers and Israeli forces, to help respond to attacks by Palestinians.
Far-right groups have also formed armed militas in several cities across the country.
High death tolls
In recent months, Palestinians in the West Bank have faced increasing violence by Israeli forces.
Near-daily raid-and-arrest operations have increased across the occupied Palestinian territories, which the Israeli army says are aimed at stamping out a resurgence of Palestinian armed resistance, particularly in the northern cities of Nablus and Jenin.
Israeli forces and settlers have killed more than 175 Palestinians this year, including more than 125 in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, of whom more than 45 were killed in the last two months alone.
According to the UN, 2022 is so far "the highest year for Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank, compared to the same period in the previous 16 years".
Israeli security agencies said 25 Israelis were killed in 2022 by Palestinians, the highest record since 2015, when 29 Israelis were killed in a wave of ramming and stabbing attacks.
Israel's internal intelligence, the Shin Bet, claimed it had prevented almost 380 attacks by Palestinians on settlers and soldiers since January.
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