IDF troops opened fire on a group of Palestinians in a vehicle that was speeding toward soldiers near the West Bank city of Nablus late Monday, the IDF said. Palestinian media reports said five people were wounded, two seriously.
“Tonight, Jewish worshipers entered Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Shortly before their entrance, IDF soldiers came to secure the area,” the army said in a statement.
“The troops identified a Palestinian vehicle that was heading toward them and fired at them,” it said, adding that “no soldiers were harmed during the incident.”
Earlier Palestinian media had reported that the troops had fired on a group of armed Palestinians, with two hospitalized in a serious condition. Pictures posted on social media showed a bloodstained car and the wounded being rushed to a local hospital.
The IDF did not say if the Palestinians were armed.
Photos: ISF Ops in Balata RC in Nablus city. Injuries are reported. pic.twitter.com/osuBhXvljF
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The reports said further clashes and riots erupted after the gunfight in the vicinity of Joseph’s Tomb with Palestinian youths throwing rocks and fire bombs. The army was bringing reinforcements into the area.
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. The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without prior authorization.
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.