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IDF closes West Bank as heavy traffic blocks Israel

March 25, 2013 17:06

General closure set to last till end of Passover, IDF says; traffic builds up nationwide as country heads to celebrate Seder.

Traffic jam [illustrative].

Traffic jam [illustrative] 390. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The Israel Defense Forces have imposed a general closure of the West Bank through the end of Passover.

The closure went into effect at midnight on Sunday and will remain into effect until Tuesday night, according to a statement from the IDF.

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The closure was ordered by the minister of defense in accordance with situation assessments in the IDF, the statement said.

Those in need of medical attention or humanitarian aid, or exceptional case, will be allowed to leave the West Bank with the authorization of the Civil Administration, according to the IDF.

In Israel, heavy traffic built up nationwide as police ask Israelis to make their journey to their Seder night dinners earlier than usual on the eve of Passover.

Israel Radio reported heavy traffic from on major highways, including Tel Aviv to Ashdod interchange following an accident. Traffic was reported on Route 4 northwards and throughout the city of Jerusalem.

According to Army Radio, Route 77 was blocked from Beit Rimon to Golani Junction, and Highway 6 was blocked northwards.

Roads from Nahariya to Haifa junction are expected to be busy as is Highway 85 from Yasif Junction to Acre. Traffic reports stated Highway 70 was blocked as was Route 79. There is no public transport after the Seder feast, and there are no buses or trains from the holiday eve on Monday afternoon to Tuesday night.

Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan are operating reduced opening hours.

Palestinian crossings official Nathmi Muhanna told Ma'an that the last bus left the Palestinian side of the crossing at 10 a.m., while the last bus from the Jordanian side departed at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, in US President Barack Obama is reported to be hosting Jewish friends and staff for the traditional Passover Seder meal on Monday evening.
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