Thirteen people were arrested overnight Thursday for illegally entering the village of Kifl Haris in the Shomron, in order to daven at the tziyun of Yehoshua Bin Nun. Most were taken into custody and released, while thirteen people were arrested, and one person injured as IDF soldiers took him into custody. Kifil Haris is located adjacent to the Israeli city of Ariel.
According to witnesses, the army was aware of the unauthorized attempt to enter the village and set up an “ambush” for the group in an attempt to stop them before they entered the village. Several visitors were able to slip away without being taken into custody at all.
The incident comes just a few days after a large group of visitors attempted to visit the site Sunday night, and were met by large numbers of Arab rioters. IDF soldiers intervened to break up the riot. Several visitors were lightly injured in the rioting, and were treated on the scene. Thirty-two members of the group of visitors were arrested, and soldiers pursued a bus with Palestinian Authority license plates into Shechem.
Police said in a statement that they viewed the incident as “serious. Entry into Area A, which is under total Palestinian control, is dangerous, as well as a felony.” Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan on Wednesday called the unauthorized entry “irresponsible. Anyone who wants to visit the site should join the authorized entries sponsored by the Shomron Council and the IDF. Entering without the relevant security arrangements is dangerous, both for the visitors and for IDF soldiers.”