Israeli settlers storm religious site in Nablus

Published August 2nd, 2016 - 12:00 GMT
Jews at prayer in Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus. (AFP/File)
Jews at prayer in Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus. (AFP/File)

At least two Palestinians have sustained injuries in clashes with Israeli military forces who were escorting hundreds of illegal settlers to Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Hundreds of extremist settlers stormed the site, which is venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims, amid protection by Israeli soldiers and under the pretext of performing religious rituals early on Tuesday, Arabic-language Safa news agency reported.

Local residents said Israeli forces deployed dozens of military vehicles in the streets leading to the tomb, and snipers were positioned on rooftops overlooking the area as settlers poured into the courtyard of the sacred site.

Violence broke out when Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli troopers at the northern entrance to the nearby Balata refugee camp and the adjacent Amman Street, with young Palestinian men throwing stones and empty bottles at Israeli forces.

Israeli forces, in return, fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. At least two Palestinians were injured during the skirmishes.

Separately, Israeli military forces raided a number of Palestinian homes in the town of Surif, located about 15 miles northwest of Hebron, early on Tuesday and arrested five Palestinians, including a young woman.

Four Palestinian youths were also detained in the northeastern West Bank town of Farun.

Additionally, Israeli military forces rounded up two Palestinians in Bethlehem, and another in Ramallah.

The occupied territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 220 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since last October.

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