Army Spokesman: Israel Closes off West Bank and Gaza
The Israeli army closed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip overnight Thursday until Monday, a military spokesman announced.
"The cordon went into effect at 02:00 GMT until the end of the Yom Kippur festival on Monday evening," the spokesman said.
The measure is taken each year to prevent terrorist action during the most important Jewish feasts of the year. The cordoning-off begins 48 hours before the festivals, after which Palestinians are not allowed out of their territories and into Israel proper. Nor are they allowed to travel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
On the ground, there were exchanges of gunfire at several points in Gaza and the West Bank.
The worst incident happened at Rasah, near the Egyptian border, where an Israeli military observation post was hit by grenade and rocket fire, according to Palestinian witnesses.
The Israeli army replied with machine-gun fire and anti-tank rockets which hit two nearby houses, the sources said.
Two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces on Thursday, shaking a fragile ceasefire aimed at halting a week of bloodletting across the Palestinian territories and in Israel
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