March 13th, 2010
06:17 PM ET

Israel extends West Bank closure

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has extended the closure of the West Bank, scheduled to end Saturday night, for three more days, Israeli officials said Saturday.

The closure began at midnight Thursday and will be lifted at midnight Tuesday "following additional situation assessments adopted by the defense establishment," the Israel Defense Forces said Saturday.

The sealing off of the West Bank had been scheduled to end midnight Saturday.

The closure follows Israel's controversial announcement this week that it plans to build 1,600 new apartments on land in Jerusalem claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians.

Medical workers and patients, religious workers, teachers, humanitarian workers, and journalists will still be permitted to enter and leave the West Bank, the IDF said. It also promised that trade would operate as normal.

Security in and around the old city in Jerusalem was also tightened Friday. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there was extensive deployment of police in largely Arab East Jerusalem in order to prevent riots.

One Palestinian was injured in the old city after Israeli police restricted worshipers from entering the Al Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers.

Worshipers younger than 50 and women of any age were not being allowed to attend Friday prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque, one of the city's holiest sites, Rosenfeld said.

Police were stationed at a number of points around the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram-al-Sharif, police said.

People prayed in the streets around entrances to the old city after police prevented them from entering the mosque.

Palestinian medics evacuated one injured man and said he had been hit in the head with an Israeli police baton.

Last week, dozens were hurt during clashes around the mosque, and police used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters. That violence was sparked by Palestinian opposition to Israel's decision to place two religious shrines in the West Bank on a list of Zionist heritage.

- CNN's Kevin Flower and Guy Azriel contributed to this report.

Filed under: Israel
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. mak

    iIdont know why it took too long for cnn to bring this news?

    March 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    For how long the Israelis will keep treating the Palestinian as animals. It is time to free the Palestinian and it is time for the United State of America to pressure the Israeli government to stop the settlement. Another important fact is that 1,000 days into the Israeli blockade of Gaza has passed and Palestinian's children of Gaza are scarred, trapped, vengeful. Free the Palestinian Free the Palestinian.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    Clearly though it's Israel that wants peace so's always the Palestinians' fault, regardless of facts!

    March 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tillzen

    As a Zionist I once believed that Israel held the moral high ground in the Mideast. I see now that they are a fascist state when it comes to the Palestinians. They have dehumanized these people and miss the irony within these atrocities.

    And while Israel may be the hammer, America is the muscle. Since Carter, American Administrations have looked the other way when the hammer has struck. Soon Israel will attack Iran's nuclear plants. America will act troubled but will be glad to have sub-contracted out the gig.

    We can either kill them all or accept our enemies and their different gods as legitimate. Human rights are simply that. They must be acknowledged. We have seen the ghettos and the graves from Gaza to Soweto to Warsaw to Serbia and Armenia. For 100 years we have seen holocausts. This is both a definition of humanity as well as an enduring abomination.

    Muslims exist, Communists and Socialists too. We must engage them because we are running out of the room and the secrecy to bury them.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
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