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Israeli army clashes with Palestinians during settler visit to Joseph's Tomb

Aug. 2, 2016 2:13 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2016 4:46 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Clashes broke out on Tuesday morning between Israeli troops and Palestinian youths as the former escorted hundreds of right-wing Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb near the Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that more than 20 buses carrying Israeli settlers arrived at the religious shrine under heavy military protection to perform Jewish rituals until the early morning hours.

The sources added that young Palestinian men threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli troops near Joseph’s Tomb and on Amman Street. Israeli forces fired back tear gas and stun grenades.

No injuries have been reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.

Israeli settlers frequently visit Joseph's Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces.

During the visits, Israeli forces regularly raid Palestinian villages in the area and fire tear gas canisters into the nearby Balata refugee camp.

Joseph's Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the shrine being located in area A under full Palestinian Authority control, and prohibit Muslims from worshiping on the site.

Ultra-orthodox and nationalist Jews regularly try to visit the shrine without approval, as many Jews believe the tomb to be the final resting place of the biblical figure in the Old Testament.

Palestinians believe that Joseph's Tomb is the funerary monument to Sheikh Yousef Dweikat, a local religious figure.
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