IDF closes West Bank, Gaza for Pessah holiday week

The IDF announced a full closure of the Palestinian territories, starting Sunday ahead of the Pesach holiday and lasting until next week. The IDF said Palestinians would be allowed into Israel only under unique humanitarian circumstances. On Sunday, for example, the Gaza Liasion Administration allowed a Palestinian woman to cross into Israel to be with her hospitalized daughter despite the closure. The army "regards the holiday period as a highly sensitive time," and IDF statement said. In 2002, a suicide attack at a Netanya hotel on Pessah's first night killed 30 Israelis and helped spur a major army offensive in the West Bank. Military spokesman Shlomo Dror said the closure will affect some 50,000 Palestinian workers and merchants who cross into Israel every day to work. Due to the Christian holiday of Easter, the IDF had decided to allow Israeli Christians full access to Jericho and Bethlehem to attend prayer services.