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Israeli army shoots, injures 2 Palestinians amid settler visit to Joseph's Tomb

Aug. 29, 2017 9:55 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 4:06 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) – Two young Palestinian men were shot and injured and another was detained early Tuesday morning when clashes erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian youths, as the soldiers escorted hundreds of settlers and right-wing Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb near Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.

Palestinian security sources told Ma'an in Nablus that five busloads of Israelis under heavy military protection stormed the area to perform religious rituals at Joseph's Tomb, which is located in an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The sources added that young Palestinian men clashed with the Israeli soldiers around the site and two young men were shot and mildly to moderately injured during the clashes.

Israeli soldiers detained a young Palestinian man amid the clashes, who was identified by the Palestinian security sources as Mousa Suleiman Saadah.

Israeli soldiers and worshipers left the area after 4 a.m, the sources said.

In response to a request for comment on the settlers visit and ensuing clashes, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that "during an IDF activity in Balata refugee camp, Israeli troops fired towards a suspect in order to defuse the threat."

When asked if the incident was related to the settler visit to Joseph's Tomb, the spokesperson said the two events were not connected, but that she would look into it further.

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 Yousef Dweikat, a local religious figure.
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