Israel bars all Palestinians after Tel Aviv attack

Israel bars entry to all Palestinians following Tel Aviv attack, stepping up security.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Israeli soldiers are seen at one of the entrances of the Palestinian village of Yatta in the occupied West Bank on June 9, 2016.

The Israeli Army said on Friday that it was temporarily barring Palestinians from entering Israel, stepping up already tough restrictions announced after two Palestinians shot dead four Israelis in Tel Aviv.

An army spokeswoman told Agence France Presse that crossings to Israel from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would be closed for Palestinians in all but "medical and humanitarian cases."

She said that the closure would remain in force until midnight on Sunday.

Among the measures Israel revoked entry permits for more than 83,000 Palestinians to visit relatives in Israel during Ramadan.

It also revoked work permits for 204 of the attackers' relatives and the army blockaded their West Bank hometown of Yatta, with soldiers patrolling and stopping cars as they entered and exited.

Meanwhile, a US State Department spokesman urged Israel to ensure that it does not punish innocent civilians. 

Israel said it was also sending two additional battalions – amounting to hundreds more troops – into the occupied West Bank.

Newly installed Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered that the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks will no longer be returned to their families for burial, a spokesman said.

Israel also closed the crossings for two days last May.

The closure announced on Friday came as Israeli security forces deployed in Jerusalem prepared for thousands of Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa.

"Thousands of police will be in and around the Old City of Jerusalem carrying out security measures," an Israeli police statement said.

At least 207 Palestinians, 32 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed since October.

Most of the Palestinians were allegedly carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

Others were killed in clashes with security forces or by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

The violence has declined in recent weeks, though attacks have continued.

AFP, TRTWorld and agencies