Israel places army on high alert for Passover festival
Israeli forces were on high alert along the border with the Gaza Strip Monday, a senior officer said, as the country got ready for the week-long Passover festival, which begins at sunset, DPA reported.
Colonel Amir Avivi, the deputy commander of the army's Gaza Division, told Israel Radio that the army was ready for any eventuality.
His comments come a week after the end of the worst violence along the Israel-Gaza border in two years, and amid fears that militias in the salient would try to disrupt the festival by launching rockets at Israeli towns and villages.
Israel also slapped a closure on the West Bank, to last for the duration of Passover.
This is in keeping with the Israeli practice of sealing off the occupied territories ahead of Jewish festivals, for fear of militant attacks. On March 27, 2002, a Hamas suicide bomber killed 30 people, and injured 140 more, when he blew himself up in an Israeli hotel at the beginning of the traditional Passover feast.
The seven-day Passover festival (eight days outside of Israel) commemorates the Biblical Exodus from Egypt.
Jews traditionally usher in the holiday with a special festive meal, reading from the Haggadah, a collection of texts recounting the Exodus and preparing a special meal, which includes food with symbolic significance.