Israel has increased security for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral near the Gaza border and has warned Palestinian rulers not to allow rocket fire during the ceremony.
“It was made clear to them that tomorrow would be a very bad day for anyone there to test Israel’s patience,” said a security source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
A memorial service will be held today in Yerushalayim, followed by a funeral on the Sharon family farm in the southern Negev desert, about 10 kilometers from Gaza.
Channel Two television reported that Israel was redeploying its Iron Dome rocket interceptor for improved protection of Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch, which has been hit by rockets in the past.
At the levaya, Sharon will be eulogized by his two sons, Gilad and Omri, and by armed forces chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantz.
Ahead of the levaya, Sharon’s coffin was placed on a black marble plinth in the plaza outside the Knesset for the public to pay their last respects.
Some 20,000 people from all walks of life filed past the coffin on Sunday.