An IDF officer and three soldiers were injured after a large explosive device was detonated by Palestinian terrorists as Israeli forces entered Nablus to secure the entry of Jewish worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb on Wednesday night, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
One soldier was in moderate condition, while the officer and the other two soldiers were in light condition. The soldiers were transferred to Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Hospital and two of the four were released within a few hours.
Video from the scene showed a large cloud of smoke rising after the detonation. The explosion reportedly took place near IDF soldiers.
Armed clashes were reported in the area as well, with video reportedly from the scene showing additional explosive devices being thrown toward Israeli forces. At least one Palestinian was injured by Israeli fire during the clashes, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Despite the clashes, the visit to Joseph’s Tomb continued as planned.
Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for explosive attack
The local branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, said that it had activated the explosive device against Israeli forces. The group stated that the explosive attack came “within the framework of the response to the continuous aggression against our people in the city of Nablus and its camps, and the response to the crimes of the Zionist occupation against our people and our struggling Palestinian people.”
“Our land is forbidden to you, and Joseph’s Tomb is your tomb,” said the local branch of the al-Quds Brigades.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan responded to the clashes on Wednesday night, stating “We must never run away because of terrorism. Terrorism chases after the one who runs away from it. Terrorism runs away from the one who hits back at it.”
Dagan called for the government to take full control of Joseph’s Tomb, saying the failure to do so is what leads to the attacks on soldiers and worshippers.
Hamas spokesman Muhammad Hamadeh responded to the clashes as well, stating “The resistance’s detonation of a bomb in the face of the occupation forces in Nablus this evening is a resounding message to the extremist occupation government that there is no safety for you in any inch of our land and you have no choice but to leave, and that your empty threats do not frighten us, but rather push us to take greater courage.”
“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.”
Earlier on Wednesday evening, the Lions’ Den terrorist group announced that one of its members was killed “during preparations to confront the Zionist enemy in the eastern region of the city of Nablus.”
Violence often erupts between Palestinians and Israeli forces during the entry of Jewish worshippers to Joseph’s Tomb, located in the village of Balata on the outskirts of Nablus. The site has been torched and vandalized multiple times by Palestinians.