Two Israelis moderately hurt in shooting during unauthorized visit to Joseph’s Tomb

Two Israelis were moderately injured early Tuesday morning when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the car they were traveling near the entrance to Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus.

The Israel Defense Forces said the Israeli civilians — Jewish worshipers — had failed to coordinate their pilgrimage to the site with the military and were shot at while driving in the city, after which they had to be extracted by Israeli soldiers.

One of the civilians, a 17-year-old boy, was taken by military helicopter to the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan. The second injured individual, a man, was taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, according to Rescuers Without Borders, a Jewish emergency service operating in the West Bank.

Joseph’s Tomb is located inside Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under complete Palestinian Authority control, although the Israeli military conducts activities there.

The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without prior authorization.

According to the Samaria Regional Council, five Israelis were in the car when Palestinian gunmen opened fire at them in the city. The car was set on fire following the military extraction of the Israeli civilians.

A video shared on social media showed a trail of blood and what appeared to be the car ablaze.

The regional council said the wounded men were not residents of the area, but from Jerusalem and Modi’in Ilit.

A security official cited by Kan news said the men had been stopped by police at some point, but lied and said they were headed for a spring near the settlement of Har Bracha.

View of the compound of Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus, April 10, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

In a separate incident, the IDF said Tuesday troops were engaged in a gun battle with armed Palestinians during an arrest operation in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Heavy gunfire was heard in the area according to footage published on social media.

Footage also showed Israeli forces apparently launching a small missile at a building where several suspects were said to be holed up.

Joseph’s Tomb is revered by some as the final resting place of the biblical Joseph, and clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinians are commonplace during visits and pilgrimages. Palestinians routinely throw rocks at troops, and frequently attack them with Molotov cocktails and gunfire.

In June, three Israelis including a senior IDF officer were slightly hurt after Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the complex during a coordinated pilgrimage to the site.

Two weeks ago, a Palestinian teenager was killed during heavy clashes that broke out in the area, also during a visit coordinated with the IDF.

Tensions have been high since April, when some 100 Palestinian rioters broke into the shrine and vandalized it.

Nablus also saw a violent gunbattle on August 9, when Israeli forces killed a wanted Palestinian gunman, Ibrahim Nabulsi, and two other terror group members.

Nabulsi had committed several shooting attacks against soldiers and civilians in the West Bank earlier this year, according to the Shin Bet. The IDF said they included a shooting at the Joseph’s Tomb complex.

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