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Israeli soldier injured in overnight clashes near Joseph's Tomb

Sept. 1, 2016 12:05 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2016 5:19 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Clashes erupted on Wednesday night when a group of right-wing Israelis escorted by Israeli forces visited Joseph's Tomb in the northern occupied West Bank, with one soldier reportedly wounded.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a group of Israelis escorted by soldiers, border police and COGAT forces came to visit Joseph’s Tomb near the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus, when shots were fired at the military escorts.

A soldier was wounded and taken to the hospital, as the spokesperson said he was in moderate but stable condition.

Israeli media reported that sixteen buses carrying Israeli right-wingers participated in the late-night visit at Joseph’s Tomb to perform religious rituals when clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth.

Joseph's Tomb -- revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Samaritans -- is the site of regular 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, Joseph's Tomb was to remain under Israeli control, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) took over the site after the Israeli army withdrew during the Second Intifada.

As part of security cooperation with the PA, the Israeli army allows Jewish worshipers to make monthly pilgrimages to the site.

However, 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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