IDF imposes general closure on West Bank ahead of Passover

IDF chief tells ministers: Palestinian Authority intensifying anti-terror efforts.

April 21, 2016 21:59
1 minute read.
idf west bank

IDF soldiers at a temporary checkpoint in the West Bank [File]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The IDF imposed a general closure on the West Bank and shut down Gaza border crossings on Thursday night. The closure will continue throughout the Passover period, the military announced on Thursday.

The decision came following instructions with the government, as well as a security evaluation, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. The closure will be lifted on April 23 at 11:59 pm, "in line with a [security] evaluation," the IDF added.

Meanwhile, Israel's security establishment has raised its level of alert in preparation for a feared rise in terrorist attacks during the Passover holiday, which starts on Friday evening.

According to estimates, the various gatherings of crowds during the holiday present targets that are more available and "valuable" for terrorists.

Therefore, IDF forces in the West Bank and police in Jerusalem will be bolstered during the period.

"We must make sure that the gatherings do not become targets for terror attacks," The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Ma'ariv quoted a security source as saying. "The weather is better, there are more people traveling, and more people outside."

"We are prepared for a significant escalation during the holiday period," the security source added. "We have had a relative calm streak, but we are preparing for an escalation to break out - and the timing is [during] the holiday period."

Security forces this year will be dispatched to warn travelers against accidental entrance into Area A of the West Bank.

In addition, Route 10 which runs along Israel's border with Egypt, the northern Gaza Strip and the Sayerim junction in the South will remain closed depending on the situation during Passover.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Channel 2 reported that Israel’s army chief told government ministers on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority has boosted its efforts to combat terrorism aimed at Israeli soldiers and civilians.

IDF Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot briefed the security cabinet on Thursday, telling ministers that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had ordered his forces to clamp down on anti-Israel incitement on social media.

The PA security services have also bolstered their efforts to curb anti-Israel violence, the IDF chief said. Palestinian police have conducted arrests against would-be terrorists, Eisenkot told the ministers. Staff contributed to this report.

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