JERUSALEM, Israel – Four Israeli soldiers, including an officer, were wounded Wednesday after a large bomb exploded near Joseph’s Tomb in West Bank city of Nablus (biblical Shechem). The soldiers were securing the route to the entrance area of Joseph’s resting place for a Jewish pilgrimage to the site.
Another soldier was injured in a separate incident – a car ramming attack south of Hebron – and in a third act of violence Wednesday, a Palestinian teen was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer after the youth reportedly stabbed an Israeli man at a Jerusalem light rail station.
All of the soldiers wounded in the two attacks are recovering, as is the man injuried at the light rail station.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed responsibility for the attack at Joseph’s Tomb. According to The Jerusalem Post, The local branch of the group’s Al Quds brigade warned Israelis, saying, “Our land is forbidden to you, and Joseph’s Tomb is your tomb.”
Hamas Spokesman Muhammed Hamadeh added his own threat, saying, “The enemy government must listen carefully to the soldiers’ screams after detonating the device in Nablus, because it will be a regular event if the enemy thinks of invading cities and villages and terrorizing our peaceful people, and the resistance will continue its work and surprises until victory is achieved.”
The military frequently escorts busloads of Orthodox Israelis to visit the site. Wednesday’s visit proceeded after the soldiers were taken to a hospital. 3 were listed in good condition and one in moderate condition.
The Israeli Defense Forces said, “The explosion occurred where security forces were operating to secure the routes, not on the route (itself) for the entrance of civilians to the compound. The entrance of worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb will continue as usual,” the IDF said.
In the attack at Beit Hagai in the Judean Hills south of Hebron, a car sped toward a security post, hitting and injuring a soldier, who was reported to be in good condition afterwards. The Palestinian driver was “neutralized,” according to authorities. Just 10 days ago, a mother of three was murdered and another man seriously wounded near the same location.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, witnesses to the light raiil stabbing say they tried to disarm the 14-year-old attacker before he was shot and killed by a border police officer. The victim, a 22-year-old Israeli man was stabbed in the back and was treated by paramedics before being transported to a Jerusalem hospital. He was in moderate condition.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly accused Iran of supporting and funding the spike in violence in Judea and Samaria. Israel’s Channel 12 reported earlier this month that the nation’s military and security presence in the West Bank has reached the highest level in 15 years.
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