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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Palestinians attack Jewish temple in West Bank

100 people attacked the tomb of Joseph in Nablus

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JERUSALEM - Dozens of Palestinians broke into the Joseph's Tomb- a religious site in the West Bank venerated by Jews -destroyed its interior and set it on fire, triggering strong condemnation.

Israel's military said about 100 people attacked the tomb of Joseph in Nablus and set it ablaze before Palestinian security forces arrived and pushed them back.

Hours later, a Palestinian posing as a journalist wounded an Israeli soldier with a knife before being shot dead near the town of Hebron, the Israeli military added.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday ordered an immediate investigation into the arson.

Palestine's official Wafa news agency said Abbas described the burning of the site an "irresponsible and condemned act", and there is a need to immediately start fixing damages.

The president said burning the site are "unlawful acts (that) harm our culture, religion and morals."

Abbas demanded responsible parties to quickly complete renovating the site and immediately submit the investigation report.

A military statement about the shrine attack said: "We view this incident with gravity and strongly condemn any attack on holy sites. We will find and arrest those who set the fire."

David Halvry, a spokesman for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have Israeli troops "retake full responsibility for the holy place."

IDF spokesman Peter Lerner promised action.

"The burning and desecration of Joseph's Tomb ... is a blatant violation and contradiction of the basic value of freedom of worship," Lerner said. "The IDF will take all measures to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice, restore the site to its previous condition and ensure that the freedom of worship returns to Joseph's Tomb

Jews consider the site in Nablus the final resting place of Joseph, a high Israelite patriarch and son of Jacob who, according to biblical accounts, was sold into slavery as a boy but then rose to become a powerful figure in ancient Egypt, second only to the pharaoh.

Jewish devotees at times go to the tomb under Israel Defense Forces escort at night to pray. Christians also consider Joseph's Tomb a holy site.> BNN

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