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IDF says West Bank, Gaza crossings will close for Palestinians over Passover

The Israel Defense Forces on Friday announced the closure of crossings with the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Palestinians during the upcoming Passover holiday.

The closure was set to begin on Wednesday, April 5, at 5 p.m. and last until Saturday, April 8, at 11:59 p.m. A second closure would begin on April 11, at 5 p.m. and last until April 12 at 11:59 p.m.

The IDF said the border crossings for Palestinians would reopen “subject to a situational assessment.”

On Friday, April 7, some border crossings would reopen to allow Palestinian worshipers from the West Bank to enter Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque after the IDF eased entry restrictions for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Other exceptions to the closures will be made for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, but will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s liaison to the Palestinians, known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

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Such closures are standard practice during festivals and holidays. The military says they are a preventative measure against attacks in periods of increased tension.

Tensions have spiked in the region over the past year as Israeli forces have ratcheted up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts in the West Bank following a series of terror attacks.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.

At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

There has also been a rise in settler violence toward Palestinians in recent months.