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Clashes erupt as hundreds of settlers pray at Nablus-area holy site

Nov. 1, 2017 2:05 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 2, 2017 2:20 P.M.)
Settlers at Joseph's Tomb (File)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians suffered from severe tear gas inhalation, while several others were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets in the predawn hours of Wednesday, after clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

Hundreds of Israeli settlers raided Joseph’s Tomb, near the Balata refugee camp in eastern Nablus, on Wednesday before dawn to perform religious rituals, under protection of Israeli army forces.

Sources at the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma’an that their medical teams aided 25 Palestinians suffering from tear-gas suffocation and two “youths” who were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets. The two injured youth were transferred to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital in Nablus for treatment.

Security sources added that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian, identified as Wael al-Hashash, during the raid.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into 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 site being located in Area A where the Palestinian Authority (PA) has full control, and prohibits Muslims from worshiping at 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 Yousif Dweikat, a local religious figure.

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