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Israeli forces escort Jewish worshipers to West Bank tomb

Jan. 24, 2013 11:05 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 24, 2013 10:07 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Jewish worshipers visited Joseph's tomb in Nablus overnight Wednesday escorted by Israeli soldiers, leading to clashes with locals, witnesses said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that troops accompanied around 1,000 worshipers to the tomb, near Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank.

Palestinian Authority security officials said around 30 Israeli military jeeps had deployed to the area by midnight, before 10 buses of Israelis arrived with more army vehicles.

Witnesses told Ma'an that clashes erupted as local youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades.

The Israeli military spokeswoman was not familiar with any clashes.

Jews believe the tomb is the final resting place of the biblical figure Joseph. Muslims believe that an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Yusef (Joseph) Dawiqat, was buried there.

The Israeli army regularly escorts Jewish worshipers to make nocturnal pilgrimages to the site.

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