(JTA) — The nephew of an Israeli government minister was killed and at least four men were injured during a visit to Joseph’s Tomb near the West Bank city of Nablus.
Ben-Joseph Livnat, 25, a father of four from Jerusalem and the nephew of Science and Culture Minister Limor Livnat of the ruling Likud Party, was among a group of 15 Breslov Chasidim who arrived early Sunday morning in three cars to worship at the site, which is holy to Jews and is located in West Bank territory under Palestinian control.
The worshipers did not coordinate their visit with the Israeli army and tried to break through a Palestinian checkpoint, according to a joint investigation of the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority.
A Palestinian security guard reportedly fired on one of the cars as it was leaving, saying the men’s activities looked “suspicious.” Other worshipers told Ynet that the Palestinian police shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” as they fired.
A senior Israeli army official termed the incident “a serious mishap caused by both sides,” Haaretz reported. The army is refraining from referring to the shooting as a terror attack but has called it an unjustified attack against civilians.
Rioting occurred in Nablus following the shooting, according to reports, and the tomb also reportedly was set on fire by Palestinian youths. The tomb was renovated recently after being badly damaged and desecrated during the second Palestinian intifada.
Livnat said in a statement that that her nephew “was killed in cold blood in an abominable way.”
Thousands attended Ben-Joseph Livnat’s funeral on Sunday morning.
The Israeli army coordinates monthly prayer visits to the tomb, believed to be the burial site of the biblical patriarch Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Members of the Breslov sect frequently sneak in without coordinating their visits, according to reports.