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Israel seals West Bank, Gaza Strip

November 11, 2004 13:17 IST

Israel sealed the West Bank and Gaza Strip and sent troop reinforcements to the areas on Thursday in view of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death, the military said. Israel also beefed up security at Jewish settlements, fearing widespread Palestinian riots in the coming days.

"The Israeli defence forces are deploying to allow a dignified funeral ceremony for chairman Arafat," an army statement said.

The military said it will restrict access to the funeral, set for Saturday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and only allow Palestinians with necessary permits to attend.

The military will allow symbolic funeral processions in towns and refugee camps across the West Bank and Gaza, officials said.

In the past four years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, Israel has imposed strict travel restrictions on Palestinians and severely limited their access to Israel. Thursday's blanket closure means no Palestinians will be able to enter Israel.

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