Before Jewish worshippers entered Joseph’s Tomb, IDF soldiers “identified a Palestinian vehicle that was aiming at them and fired at them,” the army stated.
A vehicle accelerating towards a group of Israel Defense Forces soldiers outside the city of Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria was fired upon and stopped on Monday before it could cause injuries to troops.
“Tonight, Jewish worshippers entered Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem,” said the army in a statement. “Shortly before their entrance, IDF soldiers came to secure the area. Troops identified a Palestinian vehicle that was aiming at them and fired at them.”
Palestinian media reported that troops had fired on armed Palestinians, with two hospitalized in serious condition. The IDF did not report if the men in the car were armed.
Following the incident, Arabs in the vicinity of the Tomb of Joseph—the biblical hero and son of the patriarch Jacob, whose bones were carried by the Hebrews from Egypt to the Land of Israel and buried in Shechem—engaged in rioting.
Joseph’s Tomb and the city of Shechem are located in a region set out by the Oslo Accords as Area A, thereby under complete Palestinian Authority control and off-limits to Jewish Israelis. However, the IDF occasionally coordinates special midnight trips to the Tomb of Joseph for Jewish worshippers.
The ancient tomb structure was destroyed by Palestinians during the intifada in 2000. It was subsequently rebuilt by Jewish supporters and has been burned down by Palestinians multiple time since.
Jews call the city Shechem, according to the name afforded it in the Bible. Arabs call the city Nablus, a variation on a portion of the name given to the city by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 C.E. when his troops occupied the land, then called Flavia Neapolis.