Israeli Forces Kill Two Palestinians in Clashes at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus

Clashes broke out when Jewish worshipers entered the holy site to pray ■ Two young men were shot after they hurled explosive devices at Israeli forces, Israeli army says

FILE Photo: Israeli soldiers and worshipers at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, 2011.
Nir Kafri

Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces after clashes at Joseph's Tomb broke out in Nablus Wednesday. According to Palestinian reports, the clashes began when Jewish worshipers entered Joseph's Tomb in Nablus to pray and confrontations spilled over into the city's eastern neighborhoods.

The Israel Defense Forces released a statement in response to the incident: "A number of explosives were hurled from a vehicle at Israeli army forces that were securing the entrance of worshipers at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus."

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"Israeli army forces responded with live fire toward the vehicle. At the same time, military engineering tools struck the vehicle. As a result, two attackers were killed," the IDF said. There were no Israeli casualties in the incident. 

The two Palestinians were identified as Ra'id Hamdan, 21, and Ziyad Nuri, 20. Palestinians have declared a mourning strike in the Nablus area following the event, also citing the death of Omar Amin Abu Lila in a shootout with Israeli forces. Abu Lila is the suspected assailant in Sunday's shooting and stabbing attack that killed soldier Gal Keidan, 19, and Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, 47. 

Joseph's Tomb has been at the center of multiple violent clashes. Jewish worshipers must have approval to enter the compound, which is under Palestinian Authority control, and are accompanied by Israeli soldiers as a security measure. In the past unauthorized visitors have been arrested by Palestinian police and extricated by Israeli soldiers. In 2015, Palestinians set fire to the holy site.

In 2011, Palestinian security forces opened fire on three cars full of Israelis who entered the compound illegally, killing 25-year-old Ben-Joseph Livnat.

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