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The tomb where the biblical figure Joseph is said to be buried has been vandalized by Palestinians as violence and chaos continues to escalate in the region.
The site in Nablus was attacked in what Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described as a “frenzy of destruction.”
The BBC reported that the tomb was vandalized Saturday as Israeli forces raided a town providing cover for a Palestinian terrorist who opened fire on a bar in Tel Aviv Thursday.
The Palestinian attack left three Israelis dead and 11 injured.
Videos posted on social media showed Palestinians vandalizing light fixtures hanging above the tomb and throwing chunks of rubble at the tomb itself.
The Israel Foreign Ministry tweeted, “On Friday, tens of thousands of Muslims prayed in Jerusalem on Ramadan. On Saturday, Palestinian extremists vandalized the holy site of Joseph’s tomb. Israel is committed to peaceful coexistence and to freedom of worship. Extremists must be shunned and condemned.”
On Friday, tens of thousands of Muslims prayed in Jerusalem on Ramadan. On Saturday, Palestinian extremists vandalized the holy site of Joseph's Tomb\n\nIsrael is committed to peaceful coexistence and to freedom of worship. Extremists must be shunned and condemnedpic.twitter.com/i0ogw22YKG— Israel Foreign Ministry (@Israel Foreign Ministry) 1649595656
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The Palestinians reportedly also started fires in rooms adjacent to the tomb.
Brigadier Gen. Ran Kochav, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, said that the perpetrators were detained by Palestinian security forces.
PM Bennett said that the Palestinian rioters had “simply vandalized a holy place for us, the Jews” and vowed to bring them to justice.
The tomb is an important landmark in both Islamic and Jewish cultures. Jews believe it to be the resting place of Joseph, and Muslims view it as either the tomb of Joseph or the resting place of an Islamic cleric named Sheikh Yousef Dawiqat.
The tomb has previously been at the center of Palestinian caused violence in 2000 and 2015.
Nablus is under Palestinian control, so Jewish pilgrims typically can typically visit the tomb only after coordinating with the IDF. Last Monday, two ultra-Orthodox Jewish men — who reportedly had not obtained permission from the IDF — were shot and wounded while trying to visit Joseph’s tomb.
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The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the scale of the IDF’s involvement in stopping terrorism is “dictated only by the operational need.”
Gantz indicated that the Israeli government is working to distinguish those who support terrorist plots and those who are active in carrying them out from the broader Palestinian population.
“We try to differentiate between the population and the perpetrators of terrorism, and between the different geographical environments," Gantz said.
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