Closure in Yehuda and Shomron In Effect Beginning Midnight

Israeli checkpoint. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

A full closure will be in effect on Palestinian Authority-controlled areas and Gaza beginning at midnight Tuesday, the IDF said as Israelis gear up to celebrate Purim. The closure will be in effect until Motzoei Shabbos at midnight. All worker permits and other passage permits are suspended for the duration, although passage will be granted to Israeli hospitals in the event of a medical emergency, pending a permit signed by the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Soldiers, working with police, overnight Monday discovered and seized weapons in Shechem and the neighboring Arab village of Azmut. Among the weapons were M-16 rifles. In a statement, the army said that such weapons were used in terror attacks as well as for criminal activity, and that security forces were determined to seize all weapons that were being held illegally by all people, in order to better protect all Israelis and residents of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, who are also under threat by terrorists and criminals.

Overnight Monday, security officials said they arrested 15 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.