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Palestinians Set Fire to Israel’s Holy Site Where Joseph the Son of Jacob Was Buried (Photo)

Dozens of Palestinians set fire at dawn on Friday to a holy site known as Joseph’s Tomb, in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Nablus

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The Palestinians damaged the tiny stone compound that many Jews believe to be the final burial place of the son of the biblical patriarch Jacob.

Dore Gold, the director general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement, “The Palestinian attack on Joseph’s Tomb reminds us of the actions of the most extreme Islamist elements, from Afghanistan to Libya.”

The Israeli military said that Palestinian forces had extinguished the blaze.

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority condemned the arson as “irresponsible” in a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA. The extent of the damage was not immediately clear, and the authorities did not say whether anyone had been detained in connection with the attack.

Jewish pilgrims visit the site, which is adjacent to the Balata refugee camp, a hotbed of Palestinian militancy, in organized visits about once a month, under the cover of night and escorted by the Israeli military. But none were visiting at the time the fire broke out.

The desecration of the tomb was met with outrage in Israel. It follows a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israelis, as well as deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces prompted, in large part, by a dispute over Al Aqsa Mosque compound, a contested holy site in Jerusalem revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

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