Israel has announced the closure of all points of entry between Judea, Samaria and Gaza on the one side and sovereign Israeli territory on the other both on Friday and Saturday for the Passover holiday, amid high terror warnings.
Tensions are high with fears of attack attempts targeting the holiday celebrations, especially given the Hamas bus bombing in Jerusalem on Monday that left 15 victims wounded – it was the first bus bombing of the current Arab terror wave that has claimed the lives of 34 victims since last September.
The blockade was decided after "an evaluation of the security situation," a military spokesperson told AFP without giving specifics.
The Israeli government regularly closes off access to Israel for Palestinians during major Jewish religious festivals, though exceptions will be made for humanitarian and medical cases, the spokesperson added.
Thousands of Jewish pilgrims flock to Jerusalem and other holy sites during the seven-day (eight in the Diaspora) holiday of Passover, which commemorates God taking the Jews out of Egypt in Biblical times.
"As Passover approaches, all sorts of extremists will spread lies about our policy concerning the Temple Mount," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said last week, noting Arab incitement claiming a change in policy on the holiest site in Judaism, where the Jordanian Waqf has been allowed to retain de facto control and ban Jewish prayer.
"We will act against these provocateurs by deploying security reinforcements in areas of friction," he said.
AFP contributed to this report.