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Clashes erupt as Israeli forces escort hundreds of settlers to pray at Joseph's Tomb

Oct. 11, 2017 12:40 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 12, 2017 2:02 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- At least three Palestinians were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, while several others suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation during clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday in the northern occupied West bank city of Nablus.

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that hundreds of Israeli settlers, escorted by armed Israeli forces, took to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus to perform religious rituals in the area.

According to the sources, more than 30 Israeli buses carried settlers into Joseph’s Tomb under strict security by Israeli forces late Tuesday night until the early morning hours of Wednesday.

Clashes soon erupted in the area between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces, with at least three Palestinians injured with rubber-coated steel bullets. Some were taken to hospitals for treatment, while others were treated on the scene.

Locals said that during the raid, Israeli soldiers entered several homes in the area and took over the roofs of buildings.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an 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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