Clashes erupt in Nablus as IDF escorts Jews to shrine
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Clashes erupt in Nablus as IDF escorts Jews to shrine

Army says Palestinians in West Bank city opened fire, hurled firebombs at troops during pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb

Clashes broke out in the northern West Bank city of Nablus overnight Tuesday after Israeli security forces entered the city to escort Jewish worshipers to the Joseph’s Tomb holy site, the army said.

According to an Israel Defense Forces statement, Palestinians hurled firebombs at security forces and shot at their armored cars, before troops drove them back with tear gas and live fire.

Inside the tomb, soldiers discovered two makeshift explosive devices, the army said. Both were defused by sappers.

No injuries were reported, and the army said one Palestinian involved in targeting troops was arrested and taken in for questioning.

IDF soldiers stand guard as Jewish worshipers arrive at the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on November 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF said the thousand or so Jewish worshipers prayed at Joseph’s Tomb without incident.

Joseph’s Tomb is located inside Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under complete Palestinian Authority control, though the Israeli military conducts activities there on its own volition. The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without prior authorization.

IDF soldiers stand guard as Jewish worshipers arrive at the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on November 7, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

The site is venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims, and has often been a flashpoint for sectarian violence. Jewish pilgrims are usually only allowed to visit the tomb once a month under heavy-armed guard. During these visits, Palestinians routinely throw rocks at the troops, and sometimes attack them with Molotov cocktails and gunfire.

Separately, the army said that it arrested eight Palestinians suspected of “involvement in terror activity” in raids throughout the West Bank overnight Tuesday.

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