Dr Mike Evans

Palestinians shoot at Israelis praying at Joseph’s tomb

Palestinians opened fire on Israeli security forces during a planned prayer gathering by Israelis at Joseph’s tomb on Wednesday night.

An estimated 600 worshipers were in attendance. Israeli forces fought back, with approximately 30 Palestinians injured and one person killed.

The decease Palestinian was identified as Wasim Khalifa, an 18-year-old from the Balata refugee camp, according to the Red Crescent.

One Israeli soldier was hit by a bullet from friendly fire. The bullet was stopped by the officer’s protective armor and sustained only a light injury.

An Israeli bus was also damaged in the incident. It was unclear whether the damage was due to shooting or a thrown rock, according to reports.

Among the Israelis visiting the location Wednesday night were several political leaders, including Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan.

“Entering Joseph’s Tomb tonight is a sharp and clear statement that we will continue to enter it and not give in to attempts to stop the Jewish presence in Joseph’s Tomb,” Dagan told the Jerusalem Post. “Now is the time to increase visits in order to send a clear message to our enemies.”

The incident follows a June attack by Palestinians at the tomb that opened fire on hundreds of Jews. The shooting wounded three people, including an IDF commander.

Conflict at Joseph’s Tomb has escalated in recent months, including attacks on Jewish pilgrims. Multiple vandalism incidents have also occurred.

In April, about 100 Palestinians shattered the site’s tombstone and started a fire in one of the rooms at the location.

“This is an assault on freedom of worship in one of the holiest places for every Jew, and to the Israeli people in general, especially during the holy Muslim holiday [Ramadan],” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said at the time.

“Israel will make sure to fix the monument, return it to its previous condition as soon as possible, and act with all means necessary, so that an event like this doesn’t happen again,” he added.