Israelis and Palestinians clash in Nablus

Sept. 12, 2013 at 6:48 AM
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NABLUS, West Bank, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A Palestinian gunman was injured in clashes in Nablus that erupted between Israeli soldiers guarding Jewish worshipers and Palestinians, the Israeli army said.

Early Thursday, Israeli soldiers entered the western outskirts of the West Bank city to protect about 1,400 Jewish worshipers praying at Joseph's Tomb, the army said. Palestinians began hurling stones at soldiers who fired tear gas in an effort to disperse them, the army said.

Palestinian gunmen then opened fire at soldiers who returned fire, injuring one of them. Soldiers later caught one of the gunmen as he attempted to flee and he was taken to a hospital in Israel to be treated for his injuries, Israel Radio said.

The 1995 Oslo Accords gave Israel control of the religious site, which is considered holy by Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Accords stipulate all religions should be granted access to the tomb. Despite this, the tomb has been the site of violence leading to the deaths of Israeli civilians and soldiers as well as Palestinians.

When the Second Intifada erupted in 2000, the Israeli army prohibited Israelis from visiting the site, but two years later took control of the site allowing Israeli citizens to enter under Israeli security escort.

In 2003, the Israeli army banned Jewish worshipers from visiting the site, saying access would be granted only by special permit.

In the following years, the tomb was desecrated and almost destroyed, allegedly by Palestinians. In 2008, Jewish workers renovated the site, which was desecrated once again a year later. In 2010, the Israeli army and the Palestinian Authority agreed to renovate the site and the Israeli army now grants Jews access to the tomb under military escort.

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Topics: Israel Radio
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