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Israel lifts closures on Palestinian territories

West Bank, Gaza had been closed after terrorist attacks

A Palestinian climbs over the wall that separates Abu Dis from the West Bank.
A Palestinian climbs over the wall that separates Abu Dis from the West Bank.

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israeli government has lifted its closure of the West Bank and Gaza ahead of peace talks with the Palestinians next week, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said.

The closure was lifted at midnight Saturday (5 p.m. EDT), the spokesman said.

Israel shut down the West Bank on May 18 in response to a series of attacks by Palestinian militant groups against Israeli civilians that weekend.

The Israeli government imposed a similar measure on Gaza on May 12, citing warnings from terrorist groups based there that suicide attacks in Israel were planned.

The closures sealed Palestinians into the territories, barring them from entering Israel for any reason, including to work.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian colleague, Mahmoud Abbas, are set to meet President Bush in a three-way summit on Wednesday in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba. The U.S.-backed "road map" to peace envisions an end to Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.

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