Israeli military temporarily suspends major drill to focus on operational needs

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The Israeli military said on Monday it was suspending for a day a major drill in order to focus efforts on preparing for a possible escalation of violence as tensions simmer with Palestinians in Jerusalem.

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Israel’s armed forces had planned to begin their biggest exercise in 30 years, codenamed “Chariots of Fire.”

But following a situational assessment, Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi decided to suspend the exercise for the coming day and has instructed forces “to focus all efforts on preparations and readiness for escalation scenarios,” a military statement said.

Israel has also been beefing up forces in the occupied West Bank and around the Gaza Strip, where militants have fired several rockets at southern Israel since Sunday, to preempt any spread of unrest from East Jerusalem, where Palestinians have clashed with police at a contested holy site.

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