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Israeli army rescues three civilians from West Bank after car is torched

A Palestinian demonstrator burns effigies of British Prime Minister Theresa May and former British leader Arthur Balfour in the West Bank city of Nablus on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration
JAAFAR ASHTIYEH (AFP)
Tension has grown as the IDF periodically escorts Jewish worshipers to Joseph's tomb in Nablus

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reported rescuing three Israelis who illegally entered the West Bank Palestinian city of Nablus late Tuesday night after their car was stolen and set ablaze.

It was not immediately clear why they entered the city, as the three civilians were in violation of military law that prohibits Israelis from entering into Palestinian-controlled Area A. The car theft and burning happened after the three of them left their vehicle to roam the city.

In other news in Nablus, tension is rising over the IDF’s increasingly frequent escort of religious Jews (recently about 1000 Israelis) to enter the holy site of Joseph’s Tomb. Palestinian media outlets reported clashes between local youth and Israeli forces, though the IDF said the prayers were carried out without incident.

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In a Facebook post earlier this week, the B’Tselem rights group said that “the army imposes sweeping restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in the area (of Joseph’s Tomb), which turn them into prisoners in their homes.”

In August, two Palestinians were shot and wounded by Israeli troops who were providing protection to Jewish worshipers visiting Joseph’s Tomb.

During past visits, Nablus residents have attacked the groups entering the site with rocks, Molotov cocktails and rifle fire. Back in October 2015, Palestinian rioters set fire to the holy site, which was restored and reopened several weeks later.

Israeli security forces also arrested six Palestinian suspects throughout the West Bank during overnight raids.

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