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Israel Increases Security as it Marks Anniversary of US Attacks - 2002-09-11

Israel is raising its level of security as it holds a series of events marking the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Israel's security officials have been preparing for days against the danger that terrorist groups might attack the Jewish State on September 11.

President Moshe Katsav will join with the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, in the official state ceremony to be held at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem Wednesday evening.

There will also be a ceremony opposite the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, with dozens of beacons lighting up the sky representing the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

Israel has stepped up security against the possibility of airborne attacks against tall buildings in Tel Aviv and other cities, although there have been no specific warnings.

It is also working to develop aviation defense technology to identify civilian planes "with hostile intent."

In addition, Israel's transportation minister, Ephraim Sneh, has ordered that all planes approaching within 300 kilometers of its territory must identify themselves. This is double the distance it used to require.

Mr. Sneh says this will give the military the chance to distinguish between "friendly and unfriendly" aircraft.

Mr. Sneh also says that in the aftermath of the attacks against America, Israel has been covertly checking the security practices of foreign airlines flying into Israel.

He says Israel is emphasizing that cockpits must be locked to prevent terrorists from taking control of an aircraft.

Mr. Sneh says those airlines that do not adhere to the guidelines will be banned from flying into Israel.