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Clashes erupt as Israelis visit Joseph's Tomb

Dec. 14, 2015 12:52 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 14, 2015 1:27 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) – Israeli forces shot and injured a teenage Palestinian boy with a rubber-coated bullet early Monday during clashes with Palestinian youth at Joseph's Tomb, east of Nablus, Palestinian security sources told Ma'an.

Security sources said clashes broke out after hundreds of right-wing Jews escorted by Israeli forces visited Joseph’s Tomb after midnight and into the early morning.

An Israeli army spokesperson said "dozens of rioters attacked forces hurling rocks and rolling burning tires at them. Forces called the rioters to halt the violence using riot dispersal means." The spokesperson could not confirm that a Palestinian was shot and injured during the incident.

From Joseph's Tomb, the clashes spread to nearby Amman street, as young Palestinians hurled stones and empty bottles at Israeli military vehicles, Palestinian security sources said.

Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets in response, and hit 18-year-old Issa Hashash in the thigh.

Hashash was evacuated to Rafedia Hospital in Nablus.

Monday's visit was the second time a large group of Israeli settlers entered Joseph’s Tomb under the protection of military forces since the site was burned by Palestinian youth in October.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called the arson attack "irresponsible" at the time, adding that the actions of the perpetrators were an abuse of the culture, religion and ethics of Palestinians.

Joseph's Tomb -- revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Samaritans -- is the site of monthly visits by Israelis, who are escorted by Israeli military forces to the area, often leading to clashes with local Palestinians.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control, but the Palestinian Authority took over the site after the Israeli army withdrew during the Second Intifada.

Following security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli army allows Jewish worshipers to make the monthly pilgrimages to the site.
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