A group of right wing Israeli Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian holy site in Balata near the West Bank city of Nablus, on Thursday at dawn.

Around 20 settlers from Israeli settlements located south of Balata, stormed a shrine, Sidnah Yousif, which is in the centre of a highly populated area.  Under the protection of the Israeli army the settlers conducted prayers, while local residents were restricted from accessing the site by soldiers who had closed the area.

The holy site, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, has seen much blood shed as in 1996 the Israeli army committed a massacred on Palestinian worshippers.  Understandably residents expressed fear that there will be a repeat of the incident in 1996; their fears being compounded by the army watch towers, installed with heavy machine guns that surround the site.