The army has closed the West Bank border and put its troops on alert for the first two days of the Passover holiday, which began Friday at sundown.

“For the time being the closure will only be in effect on Friday and Saturday,” an IDF spokesperson said.

“If the security situation remains as appraised today in in meetings headed by the chief of staff, then during the remainder of the holiday no closure will be imposed for the first time in years,” he said.

Under the ban, no Palestinians are allowed to cross into Israel except those needing medical care, the military said. The ban will be lifted on Saturday at midnight.

Israel routinely closes the West Bank during Jewish holidays when crowds in synagogues and other public places are most vulnerable to potential attacks by Palestinian militants.

Security forces will be out in large numbers during the holiday, with increased patrols in, and at the entrances of, large cities across the country. Special attention is to be paid to holy sites and entertainment centers, security officials said.

A decade ago, 29 people were killed on Passover eve as they sat down to a traditional festive meal at a hotel in the Israeli resort of Netanya.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.