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IDF: Joseph's Tomb a Danger Zone

Senior officer warns against visits that are not coordinated with the military, after stabbing is foiled.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/12/2013, 7:17 PM

Prayer at Joseph's Tomb
Prayer at Joseph's Tomb
Meir Birchiya, Samaria Regional Council

Several days after a stabbing attack was foiled at the last minute at Joseph's Tomb (Kever Yosef), the IDF has issued a reminder to Jews not to visit the tomb without prior coordination with the military.

Four terrorists from Shechem were arrested by the IDF's Lavi battalion Wednesday, after specific real-time intelligence on a possible stabbing attempt came in during the monthly prayer service at Joseph's Tomb.

The prayer was attended by some 3,000 worshipers.

One of the Arabs arrested was carrying a knife. Local Arabs were also rioting with rocks and burning tires throughout the event, and the IDF held them back while the prayers continued unhindered.

A senior source in the Judea and Samaria Division told Arutz Sheva that the IDF provides security for large scale visits to the Tomb on a regular basis, but that some groups attempt to defy instructions and enter the compound on their own.

"This is a security danger that could end very badly," the source said. "The area is particularly hostile and entering it without coordination is dangerous." The latest stabbing plot proves that terrorists attempt to kill Jews even when there is a large scale military presence at the Tomb.

Two years ago, Palestinian Authority police gunned down a Jewish man, Ben Yosef Livnat, who had come to pray at the Tomb.