Three Israelis Wounded by Palestinian Gunmen at Joseph's Tomb

One military officer was among the wounded in the exchange of gunfire, claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad ■ Red Crescent reports 22 Palestinians wounded in clashes with settlers and Israeli soldiers

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Shomron Regional Brigade Commander Col. Roi Zweig and head of the Shomron Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, shortly before the incident at Joseph's Tomb.
Shomron Regional Brigade Commander Col. Roi Zweig and head of the Shomron Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, shortly before the incident at Joseph's Tomb.Credit: Shomron Regional Council

Three people, including one senior military officer, were lightly wounded on Thursday during prayers at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on worshippers, an Israeli military spokesperson said.

The officer, Shomron Regional Brigade Commander Col. Roi Zweig, was wounded after the army returned fire on the gunmen, and was evacuated for medical treatment, according to an Israeli military statement.

The military evacuated all civilians from the area following the incident.

The attack was claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Thursday morning in what it said was retaliation for the killing of Muhammad Marai, one of the group's operative who was killed Wednesday morning in clashes with IDF forces in Jenin.

The Red Crescent Society reported that one Palestinian was lightly wounded by a rubber bullet, while 21 others were injured from tear gas inhalation and bruises in clashes with Israeli settlers and soldiers. Some of those who were exposed to tear gas were children residing in the area, and were evacuated to a hospital.

The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization representing West Bank settlers, released a statement calling the incident a "terror attack that should be a red flag for our decision-makers. Firing machines guns at Jewish worshipers in a holy place crosses an ethical line and indicates a loss of deterrence. We will not give in to any Arab shooting or violence, and will continue praying in our holy places".

Joseph's Tomb, identified as the resting place of the biblical Joseph, sits on the slope of Mount Gerizim in Nablus and near the Balata refugee camp. The tomb has been a constant flashpoint since Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, and has been the site of multiple attacks, fatalities and takeovers.

The army, in coordination with Palestinian security forces, escorts Jewish worshipers to the site several times a year.

In April, a Palestinian mob set the site ablaze. Just days later, Palestinians shot and injured two Israelis who went through an unmanned checkpoint into Nablus. The two men were reportedly trying to reach the tomb.

In 2015, hundreds of Palestinian youth set fire with Molotov cocktails to parts of the Joseph's Tomb complex in a riot which was ultimately put down by Palestinian security forces.

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