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Israeli forces escort Israeli settlers to visit shrines in Palestinian village

April 26, 2017 12:26 P.M. (Updated: April 26, 2017 12:29 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided the Palestinian village of Kifl Haris north of Salfit in the occupied West Bank late Tuesday, to secure the entry of a group of Israeli settlers who performed religious rituals at tombs in the area.

Witnesses said that several Israeli military vehicles raided the town and fired stun grenades in the streets, preventing access to locals, and forcing shops to close.

Witnesses added that Israeli forces were deployed at the entrance of the town and searching passing Palestinian vehicles.

An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into the report.

Residents of Kifl Haris have been living under continuous tension due to Israeli settler raids on a number of tombs in the village, which Palestinians in the area believe to be the graves of the Muslim prophet Dhul Kifl, the Sufi saint Dhul Nun, and another shrine built by 12-century Sultan Saladin.

However, some Jews believe the tombs belong to the biblical figures Joshua, Caleb, and Nun.

Like many other Palestinian towns across the West Bank with religiously significant sites, Kifl Haris, situated on the main road connecting the illegal Ariel settlement to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, commonly experiences incursions by Israeli settlers accompanied by armed escorts.

Settlers who visit the tombs to pray often actively disrupt Palestinian residents and damage property.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are restricted from visiting holy sites in Israel without hard-to-obtain permits from Israeli authorities.

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