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Israeli forces detain Palestinian, injure another as settlers visit holy site in Nablus

Jan. 16, 2018 1:38 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2018 4:07 P.M.)
Settlers at Joseph's Tomb (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- At least one Palestinian was injured and another was detained by Israeli forces before dawn on Tuesday, as Israeli security forces escorted 1,000 Israeli settlers to perform religious rituals in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that busloads of Jewish settlers, who live in the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, were escorted into southern Nablus under heavy Israeli military protection, sparking clashes.

According to Wafa, one 20-year-old Palestinian was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet, while dozens of others were exposed to tear gas fired by Israeli forces.

Israeli forces also detained one Palestinian, whose identity remained unknown.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the events to Ma’an, though she said “that no injuries were reported.”

The spokeswoman added that a “mobile operated explosive device” was found near the tomb compound, and that an Israeli bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion of the device.

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 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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