Hundreds of Palestinian rioters set fire to the site revered by some Jews as the tomb of the Biblical patriarch Joseph in the West Bank city of Nablus early Friday, ahead of an emergency United Nations Security Council session to discuss the ongoing violence.
Palestinian security forces extinguished the blaze early Friday before Israel Defense Forces could arrive on the scene, according to the Jerusalem Post. There were no injuries in the fire, but the tomb suffered severe damage.
The site has become a popular prayer site in recent years among some religious Jews. Local media showed flames leaping from the small stone structure in the West Bank city of Nablus.
The IDF said in a statement it intends to repair the site for worshippers to enter, according to JPost. The military also said it is treating the matter with the “utmost severity” and will work to identify the arsonists.
The fire was condemned harshly by Israeli politicians, with Avigdor Lieberman, a former foreign minister under Benjamin Netanyahu, proclaiming "This arson shows that the Palestinian Authority's occupation is no different than that of [ISIS]". He added that the rioters had been incited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, first to kill Israelis with machetes and knives, "and now burning holy and historical sites, just like [ISIS] is doing in Iraq and Syria."
Meantime, a Palestinian posing as a journalist stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The attack took place near a clash between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops. The assailant was described as wearing a T-shirt with the word "press" written on it in large letters.
Soldiers rushed to the scene, administering aid to the injured soldier who was eventually taken away by ambulance.
The Foreign Press Association for Israel and the Palestinian territories called on local Palestinian media organizations to verify all credentials.
Tensions are high in the region after a series of recent attacks, most of them stabbings, that killed eight Israelis. In that time, 31 Palestinians have been reported killed by Israeli fire, including 14 labeled by Israel as attackers, and the rest in clashes with Israeli troops.
On Thursday, Abbas ignited an uproar in Israel after falsely claiming in a televised speech that Israelis had "summarily executed" Ahmed Manasra, when the 13-year-old actually was recovering at an Israeli hospital after he stabbed two Israelis, including a boy his own age.
Palestinians, in turn, were enraged by video appearing to show Ahmed lying in the street, his head bloodied and his legs splayed, as bystanders curse him and shout "Die!" in Hebrew. The images, widely circulated on social media, made no mention of the preceding attack by Ahmed and his cousin Hassan, 15, who was then shot and killed by police Monday.
"Now we have a new big lie. That new big lie is that Israel is executing Palestinians," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday. Still, he said he would be "perfectly open" to meeting Abbas to address what the Israeli leader said was a wave of incitement.
Abbas, who has long argued that armed attacks on Israelis go against Palestinian interests, has denied the Israeli allegations that he is fomenting unrest. He did not immediately respond to Netanyahu's offer.
Fox News' Jonathan Wachtel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.