West Bank closure lifted as weekend passes quietly

A potentially tense weekend passed relatively quietly with no major incidents on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

Thousands of police were deployed in Jerusalem over the weekend, as large crowds descended on the Old City for Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and then yesterday at the adjacent Western Wall for Shavuot.

With the weekend passing quietly, a two-day closure preventing Palestinians from entering Israel from the West Bank was partially lifted yesterday evening. It had been imposed following last Wednesday’s terror attack in Tel Aviv, in which four Israelis were killed by two Palestinian gunmen from the village of Yatta, near Hebron in the West Bank. Residents of Yatta were initially subject to restrictions on their movement following the attack. This morning, the restrictions were lifted on all remaining residents, with the exception of those between the ages of 15 to 25.

However, there were several minor violent incidents over the weekend. On Friday afternoon, a Palestinian attacker attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus. The assailant was shot by troops and seriously injured, before being taken to hospital in Petach Tivka for treatment. None of the soldiers were injured.

Meanwhile, there were two incidents in Jerusalem yesterday. An Israeli woman and her infant child were attacked by an Arab man in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of French Hill. Channel Two reported that the attacker fled the scene, but was soon apprehended by Israeli security forces at a nearby checkpoint. Also, Israel Radio news report that an Israeli bus was pelted with stones near the Rockerfeller Junction in East Jerusalem. Two men in their twenties sustained light injuries, while a 60-year-old woman was also admitted to hospital following the attack.

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