IDF seals off West Bank, Gaza for Rosh Hashana holiday
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IDF seals off West Bank, Gaza for Rosh Hashana holiday

Closure imposed from Sunday to Tuesday during Jewish new year; exceptions to be made for ‘humanitarian cases,’ army says

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An Israeli soldier closes a gate at a checkpoint in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, on July 3, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
An Israeli soldier closes a gate at a checkpoint in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, on July 3, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

The Israeli army announced late Saturday night it was sealing off the West Bank and Gaza Strip over Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, from Sunday to Tuesday.

The military said it would make exceptions for medical emergencies and “humanitarian cases,” with the approval of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The closure will take effect on Sunday at 12:01 a.m. and is expected to last until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., dependent upon a “situational assessment,” the army said.

The Rosh Hashanah holiday begins Sunday at sundown and ends Tuesday night.

While the move comes after a number of attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli security forces in the past few weeks, the army routinely seals off the West Bank on Jewish holidays.

On Friday night, an Israeli soldier was moderately wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank’s Qalandiya crossing north of Jerusalem. The Palestinian attacker, a Jerusalem resident, was shot dead by both a soldier from the Military Police and a civilian security guard.

This will be the first closure of the West Bank and Gaza since June, when the military imposed a similar lockdown ahead of the Shavuot holiday and just after a terror attack in Tel Aviv that left four dead and over a dozen wounded.

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