JERUSALEM — The Israeli army will close off the West Bank from Saturday on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar which starts at sunset on Sunday, a military spokesman said.
The closure becomes effective from Saturday midnight (2100 GMT) and continues until midnight Monday (2200 GMT), the spokesman said.
The Israeli-occupied West Bank is routinely closed before Jewish holidays for fear of attacks by Palestinian militants.
Twenty-one Israelis were killed on the eve of Yom Kippur three years ago when a female suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad blew herself up in a restaurant in the northern port city of Haifa.
Since the start of the second intifada in September 2000, the West Bank has been partially blocked off, with Israel authorising only tens of thousands of Palestinians to travel to the Jewish state every day.
Israel comes to a standstill during Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, when observant Jews fast during 24 hours and pray for forgiveness for their sins.
Israel suspends all television and radio broadcasts, stops all public transport, closes ports and airports, and shuts down entertainment venues.
The 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in which some 2,700 Israeli soldiers were killed, began when Egyptian and Syrian troops launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur.
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