Israel Seals Off West Bank and Gaza in Wake of Deadly Terror Attack in Tel Aviv

General closure begins midnight Thursday and will end midnight Sunday, after the holiday of Shavout, military says.

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Israeli soldiers walk near a temporary checkpoint at the entrance of the Palestinian village of Yatta in the occupied West Bank on June 9,2016.
Israeli soldiers walk near a temporary checkpoint at the entrance of the Palestinian village of Yatta in the occupied West Bank on June 9,2016.Credit: HAZEM BADER / AFP

The Israeli army imposed a general closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip midnight on Thursday, in the wake of a deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

The closure was scheduled to end midnight on Sunday, the Israeli army said in a statement, after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

Passage into Israel will be allowed only for humanitarian and medical reasons, per the decision of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Worshippers will be allowed into the Temple Mount compound for Friday prayer.

Wednesday's attack at an upscale food and retail complex in central Tel Aviv claimed the lives of four and left several wounded. The assailants, two cousins from the West Bank village of Yatta, were apprehended by law enforcement shortly after the attack.

Israel Police and forensics experts at the scene of the attack at the Sarona marketplace complex in Tel Aviv, June 9, 2016.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Five of the people who suffered light to moderate wounds in Wednesday’s terror attack in Tel Aviv are still hospitalized, including one of the terrorists.

Four of them are in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital. One, who was moderately wounded, is hospitalized in the surgical intensive care unit, while two others, who have improved and are now in good condition, were removed from the intensive care unit and transferred to other wards. The fourth is the terrorist, who was lightly wounded and is still in the general intensive care unit.

The fifth person, who was moderately wounded, is in the trauma unit at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer.

Following the attack, all permits given to Palestinians for Ramadan were suspended. These include some 83,000 permits, most of them to visit family in Israel. Permits for Gaza residents to pray at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have also been suspended. At the same time, the assailants' hometown has been placed under closure.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that the “attack was carried out by people who don’t value life." Lieberman, who was installed as defense minister last week, said: “This is not the time for declarations, but we will do what is required.”

The U.S. State Department urged Israel on Thursday not to punish innocent Palestinians for the attack."We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens ... and we strongly support that right, but we would hope that any measures it takes are designed to also take into consideration the impact on Palestinian citizens that are trying to go about their daily lives," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing.

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