Palestinian rioters clashed with IDF troops in Nablus early Thursday as hundreds of Jewish worshipers visited a pilgrimage site in the West Bank city.
Youths threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF troops guarding a group of religious Jews visiting the Joseph’s Tomb holy site, the army said.
The soldiers were providing protection for some 700 worshipers who came to Nablus to pray at the purported site of the Jewish patriarch’s burial.
During the visit, the escorting force came under attack from local Palestinians, though no soldiers were injured in the incident, according to an army statement.
According to the Ma’an Palestinian news agency, the army responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades.
The military, along with the Border Police and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, oversees such pilgrimages to Joseph’s Tomb every month.
The tomb is located inside Area A of the West Bank, under complete Palestinian Authority control. The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without authorization.
The site is a regular flash point for clashes, at times deadly, between Palestinians and the army.
Earlier this month an Israeli soldier was shot and moderately wounded there during a similar visit by Jewish pilgrims.
The shots were fired at the entrance to the Balata refugee camp, which is located a few blocks away from the tomb, on the outskirts of Nablus. Local residents also rolled burning tires and threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at troops guarding the area.
On that occasion, the forces responded with riot dispersal tactics, and the visitors were able to complete their prayers “as planned,” the army said.
Last month, dozens of members of the Bratslav Hasidic sect were detained by police after they visited the holy site without army escort. Residents threw stones at the group, lightly injuring two.