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Security beefed up in Israel ahead of polls

Security forces have stepped up efforts to stop an increasing number of warnings of Palestinian attacks.
None | By Press Trust of India, Jerusalem
PUBLISHED ON MAR 27, 2006 11:08 AM IST

Israel began tightening security a day before its crucial election, as acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert explained his plan to withdraw unilaterally from large parts of the West Bank, and opponents attacked his idea and his party.

There was to be no official campaigning today, the last day before the election, and security forces were stepping up their efforts to stop what they said was an increasing number of warnings of Palestinian attacks.

A poll for Channel 10 TV and the Haaretz daily released last evening showed Kadima with 36 seats of the 120 in the parliament, the hawkish Likud 14 and the moderate Labor 18.

Pollster Camil Fuchs said the survey questioned 800 voters with a margin of error of less than 3 percentage points.

He said 22 per cent remained undecided, but most of their votes were apportioned among the parties through follow-up questions.

Police decided to close the hotly disputed holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem to visitors on Monday.

The site, where the Al Aqsa Mosque compound is built atop the ruins of the biblical Jewish Temples, is a magnet for extremists on all sides.

Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said only Muslim worshippers would be allowed into the site on Monday.

He said police reinforcements would be posted at the site and around the Old City "to prevent any attempted provocation."

In the past, Jewish extremists have attempted to storm the site to draw attention to their claim that only Jews should be sovereign there.

Though Israel captured the area in 1967, it quickly turned over daily control to the Supreme Muslim Council.

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