The revision in Bush's travel plans was announced hours after two
Katyusha rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. The 107 mm rockets,
with a range of eight kilometers, landed in the Israeli town of Shlomi on
Instead, Bush was to travel by car from the airport to Jerusalem, a
37-kilometer trip. The entire east-bound highway was closed for several
The Secret Service assessment marked a departure from an earlier CIA
report that Palestinians in the West Bank could not threaten Ben-Gurion
airport with SAMs. The CIA assessment was issued in 2005 during talks with
Israel on plans to build a security barrier some five kilometers into the
West Bank, located adjacent to the airport.
Hours later a United Nations peace-keeping patrol in southern Lebanon
was bombed and two officers were injured. The Al Qaida-aligned Fatah Al
Islam was said to have been responsible for both strikes.
The Israeli military has closed the West Bank during Bush's visit. A
military statement said the closure, ordered by Defense Minister Ehud Barak,
would end on Jan. 12 "in accordance with security assessments."
The Bush security operation, titled "Texan Magic," would mostly affect
Jerusalem. Entire neighborhoods of the city have been closed, affecting
schools and businesses.
The sources said Israeli police and security forces have been ordered to
quell protests held in the vicinity of Bush. They said Israeli forces were
authorized to use live fire against protesters who approach the U.S.
On Tuesday, two Israeli youngsters were arrested on charges of
incitement after they hung a poster that showed Bush wearing an Arab
headdress. Later, an Israeli judge, citing lack of evidence, released the
The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported that Bush was being
accompanied by 20 armored limousines, 400 U.S. security personnel, 200 White
House staffers, 15 canine teams, helicopters and transport planes. The
newspaper said an aerostat that contains advanced sensors and cameras has
been hovering above Bush's hotel.
"Demonstrations are expected in and around the vicinity of the Consulate
General's Agron Road building from January 8-January 12, 2008," the U.S.
consulate in Jerusalem said in a warden message on Tuesday. "Traffic
disruptions and an increased security presence are expected and Consulate
General personnel have been encouraged to avoid the area as much as possible
during the [Bush] visit. The Department of State continues to urge U.S.
citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Israel, to defer
unnecessary travel to the West Bank and to avoid all travel to Gaza."