Palestinian youths set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus overnight Friday, locals said, after throwing Molotov cocktails at the holy site.
Palestinian Authority police and fire brigades arrived at the scene and extinguished the flames. PA security forces said they would open an investigation into the incident.
The perpetrators reportedly broke into the holy site before setting it on fire.
President Mahmoud Abbas called the arson attack “irresponsible,” and said the actions of the perpetrators were an abuse of the culture, religion and ethics of Palestinians.
He ordered the immediate repair of the site, and said an investigation will be launched into the incident.
The tomb is the site of monthly visits by Israelis, who are escorted by Israeli military forces to the area, often leading to clashes with local Palestinians.
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control. But the Israeli army evacuated the premises in October 2000 shortly after the start of the Second Intifada, and it was immediately damaged and burnt by Palestinians.
Following security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli army allows Jewish worshipers to make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the site.
Joseph’s Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Samaritans. MAANNEWS