NABLUS, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Rubber bullets and live fire by Israeli soldiers wounded at least 10 Palestinians on Friday during clashes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, security sources and witnesses said.
The Israeli army confirmed the clashes, but denied its forces used live rounds.
More 1,000 settlers from nearby Jewish settlements were bussed into the city to visit Joseph s Tomb early in the day, and soldiers blocked off roads leading to the pilgrimage site, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said.
The Palestinians protested, some throwing stones, before clashes broke out with the army.
A spokeswoman for the military said the army had “escorted” up to 3,000 Jewish visitors to the tomb since Wednesday evening, and that a crowd of some 200 Palestinians had approached the area throwing stones and burning tyres.
Soldiers responded with “riot dispersal” means, she said, but denied that live rounds had been fired.
The clashes took place after Israel formed a new rightwing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which Palestinian officials have said pushes the prospects of peace further away than ever.