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Palestinian families prevented from leaving Gaza to visit imprisoned relatives in Israel

Oct. 9, 2017 5:25 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2017 6:51 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian families from the besieged Gaza Strip were prevented by Israeli authorities on Monday from visiting their imprisoned relatives inside Israel.

Families of prisoners in Gaza told Ma’an that they were denied entry to Israel on Monday due to border closures for ongoing Jewish holidays in Israel.

The International Committee of the Red Cross organizes weekly visits on Mondays for Gazan families to their imprisoned relatives.

Earlier this month Israel announced an unprecedented 11-day general closure for both the occupied West Bank and Gaza -- during which only humanitarian, medical, and exceptional cases were to be allowed to exit or enter -- between Oct. 4 and Oct. 14.

Israel regularly imposes closures on the West Bank and Gaza for Jewish holidays, but week-long festivals like Sukkot usually only have closures imposed at the end of the holiday, lasting a few days.

Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.

Most recently, the Israeli army also closed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip for a week during the Passover holiday in April, last week for Yom Kippur holiday, and for Rosh Hashana last month.

The majority of the more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.

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