Israel has reopened Palestinian crossing points from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip following a three-day closure put in place after last week’s deadly Tel Aviv shooting, the army said on Sunday.
Crossings were reopened overnight as planned, an army spokeswoman said, though security checks are ongoing in Yatta, the West Bank village where the two Tel Aviv attackers were from. The village had been put on lockdown in the hours after Wednesday night’s attack that killed four Israelis and wounded five others.
Crossing points were shut on Friday morning, preventing Palestinians from entering Israel and annexed east Jerusalem. An exception was made however for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, with thousands of Palestinians allowed to visit Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.
The closure also coincided with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which was celebrated on Sunday.
Israel regularly shuts crossing points during major Jewish holidays, when large numbers of Israelis congregate to pray or celebrate, presenting a potential target for Palestinian attacks. Israel announced a range of measures following the Tel Aviv attack, which saw two Palestinian cousins open fire at a busy cafe.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced the cancellation of tens of thousands of permits for Palestinians to enter Israel and east Jerusalem during Ramadan.
The moves drew international concern, with France strongly condemning the attack but also warning against further exacerbating tensions. United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s office in a statement on Friday also condemned the attack but said the Israeli measures may amount to “collective punishment”.
The Tel Aviv attack was the deadliest in a wave of violence that began in October. One of the attackers was arrested, while the other was shot and underwent surgery. Further details have been placed under a gag order by Israeli authorities while the investigation continues