Thursday, April 21, 2016

IDF Closes West Bank And Gaza Fearing Terrorism During Passover

Fearing terror attacks, IDF closes West Bank, Gaza ahead of Passover

Israel will close off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for 48 hours beginning Friday, amid fears of attacks by the Hamas terror group during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins Friday night, the army announced Thursday.

The closure will begin at 12:00 a.m. on Friday and is expected to end at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, the army said. However, the reopening will be subjected to a “situational assessment.”

Entering and exiting the West Bank and Gaza will be forbidden for Palestinians during those two days, with the exception of “humanitarian, medical and exceptional cases,” according to an IDF statement.
Those special cases will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories.

According to Israeli media, security services have “warnings, although not concrete,” of plans for terror attacks in the coming days.

On Monday, a Hamas terror cell carried out a suicide bombing attack on a Jerusalem city bus, security forces revealed on Thursday as a gag order on the case was partially lifted.
Several members of the cell responsible were arrested in the Bethlehem area, following the attack.
The bomber who placed the explosive device on board the number 12 bus in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem was identified by the Shin Bet security agency as Abed al-Hamid Abu Srour, 19, from Beit Jala, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Though closures of this type are not necessarily used for every holiday, they are not unheard of during periods of heightened security threats.

The closure will affect the thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel every day, most of them in construction and maintenance. However, as the closure will be in place during a holiday weekend, the impact should be lesser than if it were mid-week.
Within the West Bank, Palestinians will be able to enter Jewish settlements to work during the closure, an army spokesperson said.

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