Thousands in security detail for Bush trip to Israel, Mideast
TEL AVIV — The U.S. military has arrived in Israel to prepare for
the visit of President George Bush.
The sources said Bush would be accompanied by a huge military force
during his visit to Israel and tour of the Middle East. They said the
president would be supported by at least four air transports that would
contain special equipment as well as nearly 2,000 troops and bodyguards.
Officials said police would deploy 3,500 officers and army troops to
protect Bush, Middle East Newsline reported. They said large areas of Jerusalem would be closed to traffic
during Bush's visit.
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Security sources said the Secret Service, backed by military forces,
has conducted drills to ensure security for Bush and his entourage. The
sources said the White House entourage has been briefed by the Israel
Security Agency and conducted helicopter flights in Israel and the
"They've been learning and traveling all possible routes and
coordinating plans with us," a source said.
"The security establishment has not received any warnings or information
on any intent to attempt to harm the president's convoy," Jerusalem police
chief Brig. Gen. Aharon Franco said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Secret Service has also flown helicopters over Israel and the
PA in coordination with the Israel Air Force. Bush plans to visit Ramallah
and meet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Bush, who has never visited the Jewish state as president, was scheduled
to arrive in Israel on Jan. 8. Over the next eight days, he was scheduled to
visit Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.