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JERUSALEM – Israel has beefed up forces along the volatile Gaza border ahead of planned Palestinian protests near the fence, called for by the area's militant Hamas rulers.
Hamas has said that Friday's activities will be peaceful but Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, Israel's chief military spokesman, says the army is prepared for trouble.
He said late on Thursday troop levels have been doubled along the border, including snipers, special forces and paramilitary border police units, which specialize in riot control.
Palestinians are setting up tents along the border on Friday, the first of a series of actions planned for the coming weeks.
The activities are to culminate on May 15 with a march through the border fence.
Manelis says Israel wants to avoid violence, but won't let the crowds breach the fence.