Israel eases closure of West Bank, high alert along northern border

24th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Israel early Monday eased a closure of the West Bank, imposed five days ago to prevent attacks by Palestinian militants during the Jewish festival of Purim (Lots), the military said.

24 March 2008

Tel Aviv (dpa) - Israel early Monday eased a closure of the West Bank, imposed five days ago to prevent attacks by Palestinian militants during the Jewish festival of Purim (Lots), the military said.

During the closure, no Palestinians were allowed through military checkpoints into Israel, with the exception of special medical or humanitarian cases.

Israeli media, however, reported that the Israeli army was on high alert along Israel's northern border, as Lebanon's Hezbollah was commemorating 40 days since the assassination in Damascus of its top military commander, Imad Mugniyeh.

Israel did not claim responsibility for the assassination, but Hezbollah's deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem, was quoted as charging Friday his radical Shiite organization had "clear proof" that Israel was behind his killing.

An Israeli military spokesman would not comment on the high alert along Israel's border with Lebanon, saying only that "as (it) was after his (Mughniyeh's) death, the Israeli army is always ready and prepared for any scenario."

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was due to attend an official commemoration ceremony in Lebanon Monday marking the end of a 40-day mourning period since Mugniyeh's death.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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