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Israel closing Gaza, West Bank


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A freshly painted mural of Arafat is seen at his former headquarters in Gaza.
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel has ordered a general closure of the West Bank and Gaza Thursday morning, according to the Israel Defense Forces, as the region prepares for the burial of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Israeli forces are deploying to the West Bank "in order to allow for a dignified funeral ceremony" for Arafat, according to an IDF spokesperson's statement.

Those traveling in the West Bank must have appropriate permits, the spokesperson said.

Israeli forces have been put on high alert because of anticipated violence outside the "Occupied Palestinian territories," the IDF said.

Arafat's state funeral will take place in Cairo, Egypt. He will then be flown to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, West Bank, where he will be buried.

The Israeli government said the Palestinian Authority will be responsible for security inside Ramallah and Israeli troops will be in charge of security outside the West Bank city.

Israeli citizens will be allowed to attend the funeral in Ramallah, but only Palestinian VIPs will be allowed to travel from Gaza to Ramallah for the service. Israeli police will be on special alert in Jerusalem, the Israeli government said.


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