Israel extends West Bank closure for three days

11:30, March 14, 2010      

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Israeli security forces extended the general closure on the West Bank for three days to Tuesday midnight, an Israeli army statement said on Saturday.

The lookdown, which had been expected to be lifted on Saturday midnight, was extended in view of the unrest in the area, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem police will continue to restrict the entry of Palestinian worshippers into the Temple Mount (known by Muslims as Noble Sanctuary) on Sunday, local news service Ynet reported. Only Israeli ID-holding men aged 50 and above and women of all ages are allowed into the compound.

Israeli troops clashed with Palestinians on Saturday at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Witnesses said soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas and injured several Palestinian demonstrators who were trying to breach the roadblock.

Minor violent incidents also took place in Jerusalem on Friday, with Palestinian youths throwing stones at police.

In the wake of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians after an Israeli regional committee approved a program to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem, Israeli Defense Forces imposed a 48-hour general lockdown on the West Bank starting at Thursday midnight.

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