IDF checkpoint
IDF checkpoint Israel news photo: file

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered a one-day closure on Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria. The order came as a surprise, but was explained as due to advance warning of planned rioting in Jerusalem. It also raised suspicions that defense officials have reason to believe terrorists are planning an imminent attack.

Defense officials said the decision was made following “an assessment of the situation.” On Friday,only Arabs with Israeli ID cards were allowed on the Temple Mount for prayers. The closure will end on Saturday night.

During closures, PA Arabs are not allowed to enter pre-1967 Israel or Israeli areas in Judea and Samaria. Exceptions are made in cases of medical emergency which require treatment in an Israeli hospital, and in humanitarian cases.

Approximately 1,700 PA Arabs who work as teachers or religious officials will be allowed to enter Jerusalem during the closure. In addition, merchandise will continue to pass between Israeli and PA areas as usual.

Strike Takes Out Gaza Weapons Plant

The Air Force carried out two strikes in southern Gaza early on Friday morning. One strike demolished a weapons smuggling tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border, while the second took out a weapons factory.

An IDF spokesman said the strikes were a response to the terrorist rocket attack on Kibbutz Nirim the day before.