Israel Heightens Security For Passover

Israel sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ordered Palestinians in the West Bank town of Hebron off the streets and deployed thousands of extra troops Friday at the start of the weeklong Passover holiday.

The heightened security came five days after the Islamic Jihad and Hamas groups set off two bombs near Jewish settlements in the PLO-ruled Gaza Strip, killing seven Israelis and an American. The groups have threatened to carry out more attacks over Passover.

Passover commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Most of Israel closed at sundown Friday as families gathered for a seder, a ritual meal during which the Passover story is read.

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