For First Time in Current Terror Wave, Israel Severely Restricts Access To, From Ramallah

Closure of Palestinian economic, political hub comes after shooting that wounded three Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli soldier searches a Palestinian car at an Israeli checkpoint leading to the West Bank city of Ramallah February 1, 2016.
Reuters

For the first time in the current terror wave, the Israel Defense Forces imposed a partial closure on Ramallah on Monday. 

Exit from the city is permitted for laborers with Israeli work permits, the transfer of goods, humanitarian cases (the sick, pregnant women and others) and for Palestinian officials, in coordination with Israeli authorities. Entry to the city is blocked for anyone other than residents of the city and Israeli Arabs. 

Israeli military officials decided after a security assessment late Sunday night to block entry to Ramallah for all non-residents, just hours after a Palestinian police officer from Ramallah shot and wounded three Israelis in the area. On Monday afternoon it emerged that exit from Ramallah is being restricted as well. 

Tens of thousands of Palestinians visit the city daily from the area of Jerusalem and from across the West Bank. This is the first time since the wave of terror began in October that the IDF as surrounded a Palestinian city. 

Israeli security forces gather at a checkpoint near the Beit El settlement, close to the West Bank city of Ramallah, January 31, 2016.
AFP

According to a military source, the restrictions were not only imposed because of Sunday's shooting but also due to security warnings issued for the area and shooting attack cases that have yet to be solved.     

The decision to close off the city, which is both the West Bank's economic and political center, was made in accordance with instructions from the political echelon.

Palestinian news outlets reported on Sunday that heavy traffic was noted surrounding Ramallah due to road blocks.

Investigations into the shooting incident earlier Sunday said that a Palestinian car arrived at the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah. The armed Palestinian police officer exited the car and opened fire, wounding three Israeli soldiers. Another soldier who arrived at the scene shot the Palestinian and killed him.