Three Israelis were wounded by Palestinian gunfire in a shooting that took place at Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday night.
Clashes between armed Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted at the holy site, as hundreds of Jewish worshipers arrived to pray there under military escort.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that two of the injured are civilians and the third is Colonel Roy Zweig, commander of the Samaria Regional Brigade. They were all lightly injured.
According to the Israeli military, armed Palestinians directed “massive gunfire” at the compound, and “IDF soldiers returned fire toward the source of the shooting.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for the death of one of their members during clashes with IDF troops a day earlier in Jenin.
“We affirm that we will remain highly prepared to confront the occupation forces and their crimes against our people, our land, and our holy sites,” it said in a statement.
In videos shared on social media, gunshots are heard in the background as Jewish worshipers urge each other to stay low.
Following the incident, Israel’s Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted: “I wish those wounded in the shooting incident at the Joseph’s Tomb compound at night a speedy recovery. The fighters who operated in the area demonstrated determination and acted as expected of them - quickly and sharply. I look forward to the quick return of Brigadier General Samaria, Col. Roi Zweig, to operational activity – The IDF needs people just like you, people with courage who are role models.”
Head of the Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan, who was at the site during the clashes, said that Israel “will not relinquish its grip on Joseph’s Tomb.”
“We saw the violence and barbarism of the Palestinian Authority unfolding live, shooting at worshippers at Joseph’s Tomb, shortly after the shrine was vandalized and burnt. We, the people of Israel, are dealing with the barbarism and will beat it,” Dagan added.
Joseph’s Tomb has been a regular flashpoint in the West Bank, the site of multiple attacks. Jewish worshippers are allowed in only once a month, under heavy security. During these visits, Palestinians routinely throw rocks at the troops, and frequently attack them with Molotov cocktails and gunfire. In April, the tomb was desecrated by Palestinian vandalizers twice and later repaired.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.