Palestinian gunmen opened fire at Jewish worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus early on Thursday morning, sparking a gun battle in which 17 Palestinians, two Israeli civilians and one IDF commander were injured.
“This horrific attack must be a red light for decision-makers,” the Yesha Council said in response.
The attack occurred during a regularly scheduled visit to the tomb to mark Rosh Hodesh, in which thousands of Jewish worshipers are allowed access to the site after the IDF has secured passage to the tomb.
During the visit, “armed terrorists opened heavy fire against the tomb’s complex,” the IDF said.
In a video published of the incident, soldiers are seen asking worshipers to turn out the compound’s light after the firing started. Among the three who were wounded was IDF Samaria Regional Brigade commander Col. Roi Zweig, the army said.
Israeli security forces arrive at Joseph's Tomb after 3 people were injured in a shooting, June 30, 2022. (Source: Samaria Regional Council)
“IDF soldiers responded toward the sources of gunfire [and] escorted civilians out,” the IDF said. In video footage on YouTube, one can hear the heavy exchange of gunfire.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said that Zweig did not seek medical treatment until he had overseen the evacuation of all the worshipers from the tomb complex.
“He is a true hero, and I salute him on behalf of all the people of Israel,” said Dagan.
“He is a true hero and I salute him on behalf of all the people of Israel.”Yossi Dagan
Claims to the shooting
In separate statements, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for the shooting at Joseph’s Tomb.
The Al-Quds Brigades said the attack was a response to the death of Mohammad Maree, of the Jenin Brigade, who was killed on Wednesday during clashes there with the IDF.
The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said that its men hurled explosives and fired at buses transporting Jewish “settlers” in Nablus.
“The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades [were] able to clash with the Jewish occupation in several parts of the city of Nablus, especially the area of Joseph’s Tomb and Amman Street,” the martyrs brigade said. “Our mujahideen also opened fire directly on a bus belonging to the Jewish settlers. Our mujahideen were able to detonate a number of devices against patrols of the Jewish occupation.”
The Al-Quds Brigades, for its part, announced that its fighters were able to set up ambushes for the IDF troops and settlers.
“Our fighters targeted the occupation forces and the settlers with bullets in the fiercest armed clashes in the city,” the group said.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that it affirms “that we will remain fully ready to confront the occupation forces and their crimes against our people, our land and our holy sites. We will continue our jihad until the liberation of our land from this criminal occupation.”
According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, 16 of those injured were from rubber bullets and one was from live fire. It added that an additional 40 Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Settler leaders said they were determined to continue their prayer trips to Joseph’s tomb.
“We will continue to pray at this holy place,” the Yesha Council said.
Using assault rifles to shoot at Jews while they are praying crosses a moral line, the council said, and that Palestinian gunmen feeling emboldened to shoot at them showed that IDF deterrence had not worked.
Dagan blamed Israel’s government for the attack, explaining that such incidents would not occur if the IDF kept a regular presence at the tomb and kept it open on a permanent basis to Jewish worshipers.
“The lack of an IDF presence in this holy place is the reason why the murderous ‘Palestinian Authority’ raises its head and allows itself to shoot Jews during their prayers,” Dagan said.