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Israel seals off West Bank, Gaza for Jewish holiday Sukkot

Oct. 13, 2008 9:16 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 13, 2008 9:16 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel placed the West Bank and Gaza Strip under closure on Sunday night claiming to seek increased security during the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

The closure means that even Palestinians who have a permit to enter Jerusalem or Israel will not be allowed to do so. Ordinarily, mot residents of the occupied territories are barred from Israel without hard-to-obtain permits.

The shutdown will be in effect until 21 October.

The closure will mostly affect the West Bank, since Israel's only civilian crossing point with the Gaza Strip has been closed since June 2007.

Israeli authorities say that the only exceptions to the closure will be emergency cases allowed into Israel after coordination with the Israeli Liaison Office.

Sukkot, or the Feast of the Tabernacles, is a seven-day holiday, during which Jews build Sukkahs, temporary structures.

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