At least 1,000 illegal settlers, accompanied by Israeli military soldiers, have stormed Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of Nablus, desecrating the site venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Palestinian security sources and local residents said the settlers arrived at the site on board a number of buses early on Thursday, and broke into the tomb amid protection by Israeli troopers, Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news agency reported.
Israeli forces also deployed several military vehicles on the streets leading to Joseph’s Tomb to prevent any potential confrontation between Palestinians and the settlers, who were purportedly uttering prayers from the Talmud.
Shortly afterwards, skirmishes broke out between a group of Palestinian youths and Israeli forces in the vicinity of Joseph’s Tomb, where Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd.
Clashes were also reported at Balata and Askar refugee camps in the suburb of Nablus.
The development came only a day after Israeli forces and intelligence officials stormed a tract of land in Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East al-Quds (Jerusalem), uprooting 47 olive saplings.
They also forcibly dispersed a group of protesters from the area, and removed placards depicting Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in recent months.
Members of the Palestinian Fatah movement planted the olive saplings on March 30 to honor the 47 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in al-Quds since October, when a wave of tensions swept the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tensions have heightened in the occupied Palestinian territories due to Israel’s imposition in August 2015 of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.
At least 210 Palestinians, including women and children, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October last year.