Plans for a mass “Land Day” march by thousands of Gazans on Friday are presenting Israel’s military with heightened security concerns. The soldiers being brought in to guard against a surge aimed at crossing the border or bringing down the border fence have been given special training in dealing with unarmed civilians. Zones have been created in which the defensive weapons selected for use correspond to the perceived threat of reaching the border. Soldiers will be issued live ammunition for use as a last resort only. Before that might happen, troops will have a variety of devices including drones that spray tear gas, vile-smelling liquid known as the “skunk,” and rubber bullets. Police officials say there are no specific threat warnings relative to Friday’s march. But tension is high after the arrest of three Palestinians who infiltrated into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday carrying weapons including hand grenades. The trio was subdued before they could do any damage, but the security caution-lights that the incident sounded are being taken seriously by those responsible for the Friday march.
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