Around 30 Jewish worshipers clashed with local Palestinians after illegally entering Joseph's Tomb compound in Nablus. The area is under Palestinian control, but Jews are allowed to pray there, if they have a permit.
The Israeli military, with coordination with Palestinian forces, extracted the worshippers from the area, revered by Jews as the tomb of the biblical figure Joseph. According to the Associated Press, only one Israeli worshiper was lightly wounded, and five were taken for police questioning. The Israeli Defense Forces say that worshipers had no permit for Sunday's visit and entered the area illegally without authorisation.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch condemned the actions of the Israeli worshipers. "It is an act of madness unwanted by Jewish law," he told Haaretz. "These people are endangering their lives and us all… Their actions must be condemned and action needs to be taken to prevent such dangerous acts."
This incident comes after a series of attacks ensued in the region over the past month, which has raised fears of a full-scale Palestinian uprising in Israel.
On Friday, Palestinian assailants threw petrol bombs at the West Bank compound on Friday, committing the first assault on a religious site in the region, in which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned by saying extremists were trying to turn the current conflict into a religious one.
"Israel condemns in no uncertain terms the harm to Joseph's Tomb committed for the sole reason that it is a place where Jews pray. The torching of Joseph's Tomb clearly demonstrates what would happen to the holy places in Jerusalem if they were placed in the hands of the Palestinian leadership," Israeli Director General Dore Gold said in a statement.
In response to the recent violence, Israel has deployed 300 soldiers and built concrete barriers outside Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, where most of the attackers have come from, in response to the attacks, report the Associated Press.