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Israeli Soldier Shot While Guarding Jews at Flashpoint Joseph’s Tomb

JERUSALEM — An Israeli soldier was shot while protecting worshippers at Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus.

He was taken to a hospital in central Israel where he is in stable condition, the army said.

Some 16 buses of worshipers arrived at Joseph’s Tomb early Thursday morning. Their IDF escort was attacked by firebombs, rocks and burning tires, the army said. The injured soldier was struck by live fire which came from the nearby Balata refugee camp.

Joseph’s Tomb is also holy to Muslims and Christians. Israeli Jews must receive permission to visit the purported burial place of the Jewish patriarch; the visits must be coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces. Nablus is under military and civilian control of the Palestinian Authority.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control. The Israeli army evacuated the premises in October 2000 during the second intifada and it was burnt down by Palestinians. It was renovated and restored, but then torched and vandalized again last October.

Jewish worshippers, in coordination with the IDF, make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the refurbished site.

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