Israel extends closure of West Bank, Gaza Strip crossings amid tensions

Jerusalem, Apr 9 (IANS): Israel has announced that all crossing points of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip would remain closed until Thursday for security reasons.

Entry permits to Israel for working purposes or for Ramadan prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem during the period will be canceled, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement issued by Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Saturday.

It was decided upon "an operational situation assessment" that the closure, originally planned to be lifted overnight on Saturday, will be in place until the end of the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover, according to the statement.

Gallant also instructed the defense establishment to allocate more resources and soldiers to enforce the activities of the Israeli police.

The decision came after two deadly attacks which Israel deemed as acts of terror by Palestinians. On Friday, two British-Israeli sisters were killed and their mother seriously injured in a drive-by shooting attack in the West Bank Jordan Valley. At night, an Arab citizen of Israel rammed his car at a group of tourists at Tel Aviv's coastal promenade, killing an Italian tourist and injuring seven others.

Tensions have been high in the region following Israeli police raids at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, triggering clashes with Palestinian worshippers, and sparking a fresh round of cross-border strikes between Israel and Gaza militants earlier this week.

Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war and has continued to control these territories, where Palestinians hope to establish their future state.



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Title: Israel extends closure of West Bank, Gaza Strip crossings amid tensions

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