Jerusalem: Israeli security forces were put on high alert today ahead of former premier Ariel Sharon’s funeral in the southern Negev desert which is likely to be attended by thousands including US Vice President Joe Biden, given its close proximity to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Sharon, who died on Saturday at the age of 85 after remaining in coma for eight years, will be laid to rest beside his wife Lily at Anemones Hill nearby the family’s northern Negev Sycamore Ranch this evening.
Police plan to deploy 800 officers, border policemen and volunteers to secure the funeral venue which is just six miles from the Gaza Strip, security sources here said.
Bracing up for extreme eventualities, the Israel Air Force and the Iron Dome missile defence systems will be ready to protect the funeral from any possible attacks.
A source close to Sharon confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that Iron Dome batteries had been specially deployed for the ceremony.
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