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9 Jun, 2016 10:19

Tel Aviv attack: Israel suspends 83,000 Palestinian entry permits, boosts troop numbers in W. Bank

Israel has frozen entry permits for 83,000 Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan over the recent Tel Aviv shooting that left four killed. The authorities have also said they will send hundreds more troops to the West Bank.

"All permits for Ramadan, especially permits for family visits from Judea and Samaria to Israel, are frozen," COGAT, the unit responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank, said in a statement.

Entry permits are given to visit relatives and holy sites during Ramadan. Those who have been issued permits will have them suspended as well, according to Ynet. Entering and leaving will for now be permitted only in humanitarian and medical cases.

The authorities announced that two battalions would be deployed in the West Bank by the end of the day to step up the troop presence in the area.

The news comes after two Palestinians opened fire at a popular Tel Aviv nightspot near Israel's military headquarters on Wednesday. Four people were killed in the assault.

Last week, Israel said it was easing restrictions on the entry of Palestinians during Ramadan. The authorities had planned to let 500 people from Gaza come to Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem.

Since October, Israel has been engulfed in violence that has left at least 207 Palestinians, 28 Israelis and several foreign citizens dead. The majority of Palestinians were killed while carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities.

About a fortnight ago, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan halted the return of the bodies of dead Palestinian attackers to their families.

The restriction came after Erdan saw images from the East Jerusalem funeral of a Palestinian man who killed a rabbi in October: the ceremony was attended by hundreds of mourners. Under an agreement between Israeli police and families, such funerals should be held at night and with minimum participants.