Israel suspends entry permits for Palestinians after attack

Palestinians will be barred from visiting family members and holy sites in Jerusalem during Ramadan.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An Israeli policeman clears the area after an attack on a popular market in the centre of Tel Aviv..

Entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians have been suspended during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan following a deadly attack in Tel Aviv, Israel announced on Thursday.

Palestinians will be barred from visiting family members and attending Ramadan prayers in Jerusalem and also from travelling abroad after Wednesday's attack, which killed four people at a popular market near Israel's military headquarters in the centre of Tel Aviv.

The two attackers were identified by police as Palestinians from the village of Hebron, who were "posing as customers" before the shooting incident, according to Reuters.

One of the attackers was arrested while the other was admitted to a hospital after being wounded by gunfire.

In response to the incident, Israel placed restrictions on movement of Palestinians.

"All permits for Ramadan, especially permits for family visits from Judea and Samaria [West Bank] to Israel, are frozen," said a statement from Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the unit of the Ministry of Defence which manages civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank.

According to COGAT, 83,000 Palestinians will be affected by the measure, and permits to allow up to 500 people from Gaza to attend Friday prayers at the Israeli-controlled Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan will also be frozen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the site of the attack after returning from a trip to Moscow, has termed Wednesday's incident "cold-blooded terrorist murder" and vowed to implement a range of preventive measures in response.

"We discussed a range of offensive and defensive steps which we shall take in order to act against this phenomenon," Netanyahu's office quoted the premier as saying.

"There will be intensive action by the police, the army and other security services, not just to catch every accomplice to this murder but also to prevent further incidents."

The Israeli Army also surrounded the Palestinian town of Yatta, where the attackers are believed to be from, and checked all traffic coming to and from the area.

Violence since October has killed at least 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

Last week in Paris, representatives from 28 countries, the Arab League, European Union and United Nations met to discuss ways of restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Negotiations have been at a complete standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Following last week's meeting, France hopes to hold an international peace conference before the end of the year.

Israel strongly opposes the French plan, calling instead for direct negotiations, while the Palestinians support it.

TRTWorld and agencies