Israel tightens security ahead of Obama's visit



Jerusalem: Ahead of US President Barack Obama's maiden visit, Israel has reviewed its security arrangements and is prepared for the gravest possible scenarios through security drills.

Obama will arrive here on Wednesday next week at the start of his three-day trip that will also include the West Bank and Jordan.

"We are preparing for even the gravest possibility and are not relying only on intelligence. We are taking into account every scenario that could develop," the head of operations, Brigadier General Nissim Mor was quoted as saying to Ynetnews.

"We are talking about a very complicated operation," he told the news portal. Police are preparing for different scenarios ranging from an attempt to hurt the US President, to the possibility of developments in the north or the south of Israel.

A security drill was held yesterday at the King David Hotel in the capital where Obama would be staying during his visit, he said.

Police forces, the hotel's security guards, firefighting services and the team in charge of the US President's security simulated possible scenarios which may require removing Obama from the hotel, he said.

"We conducted an exercise using a huge crane," said Shmulik Levy, a team leader at the firefighting services.

"We studied and examined the crane's limitations and abilities. The goal was to create situation requiring a rescue or an emergency event," Levy said.

The US leaders convoy, which is expected to arrive in Israel with two limousines, was simulated in an exercise held on Thursday night.

Sunday morning will see a drill simulating the helicopters slated to carry the American President from Ben-Gurion Airport to Jerusalem.

According to requirements received from the US coordinating teams, every single person involved in securing the convoy or serving the President's entourage, including waiters and producers, has undergone security screening, the news portal reported.

PTI