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Another Joseph’s Tomb attack on Jewish worshippers leaves Palestinian teen dead

Jewish pilgrims are escorted by military guard since tomb became a flashpoint for regular violence and a target of vandalism

Palestinians opened fire on Jewish pilgrims headed to Joseph's Tomb, seen in this photo after vandalized in April. (Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Jewish pilgrims were fired upon by Palestinians at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus early Thursday, resulting in the death of one Palestinian youth as violence broke out.

Today’s pilgrimage was the first return of Jewish worshippers to the shrine since June, when gunmen opened fire, wounding two visitors and an Israel Defense Forces officer. 

Palestinians shot at Jewish pilgrims being ushered to the site under heavy military guard. Waseem Nasser Abu Khalifa, 19, was hit by a sniper during the attack and rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead, according to Palestinian media outlets. 

WafaI, a Palestinian news service, reported that more than 30 Palestinians were wounded as a result of clashes with security forces. 

The IDF said in a statement that soldiers and Border Police were present to secure the pilgrims’ access to the tomb, which is believed to be the final resting place of the biblical figure, Joseph from the Book of Genesis. 

Israel announced that the Oslo Accords guarantees access to all holy sites, however,  the tomb has become a flashpoint for regular violence and a frequent target of vandalism. Permitted monthly visits by Jewish worshippers are often marred by rock throwing, Molotov cocktails and gunfire. 

On social media videos of this morning’s attack, heavy gunfire can be heard.

The clashes follow the IDF’s killing of wanted Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror chief, Ibrahim Nabulsi, and two others in a raid on Aug. 9.

Nabulsi was part of a PIJ hit squad which carried out several attacks against soldiers and civilians in the West Bank earlier this year, according to Israel’s intelligence agency, Shin Bet. 

In April, some 100 Palestinian rioters broke into the tomb and vandalized it. The following day, two Jewish men were shot and wounded while heading to the shrine to work on restorations.

In June, an IDF colonel responsible for the site renovation, was also shot and two other people wounded. Two weeks later, an Israeli man was shot and lightly injured while trying to reach the site with three others in an unscheduled visit.

Joseph’s Tomb is located in a territory designated as “Area A” by the Oslo Accords, indicating it is under the control of the Palestinian Authority and that Israelis are not allowed to enter without prior authorization from the Israeli military.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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