Israel tightens security for Jewish New Year

Shoppers crowd the markets of Jerusalem, but West Bank checkpoints are mostly empty, as Israel tightens security ahead of the Jewish New Year.

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Israelis went to the market on Sunday (Oct 2) for last-minute purchases as they prepared for the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown, amid tightened security and the closure of the Palestinian territories.

Rosh Hashanah, the two-day Jewish new year, will conclude at nightfall on Tuesday (Oct 4). Both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.

"Everybody loves it. It's two days of family together and the beginning of the holiday month," said Dan Sagir, a shopper at a Jerusalem market.

The Israeli army had imposed a full closure on the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, said an announcement by an Israeli army spokesperson.

However, humanitarian cases as well as various Palestinian professional groups such as doctors, medical personnel and NGO workers would be granted special permission to enter Israel, the announcement added.

Otherwise, residents of the West Bank towns will not be allowed into Israel until the end of the Jewish holiday, on Oct 4.