Israel
A Jewish worshipper prays outside Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus early July 4, 2011.Reuters

Palestinian rioters reportedly set fire to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, a holy Jewish site located in the West Bank, severely damaging the structure overnight on Friday.

The incident comes amidst raging violence in the region between Palestinians and Israelis, with multiple attacks claiming more than 30 lives in the past weeks. 

According to the Israeli media, hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Joseph's Tomb compound, which is believed to hold the remains of biblical figure Joseph and set fire in the compound.

The fire reportedly caused severe damage to the section where women worshippers pray at the tomb, according to The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority security forces reportedly managed to douse the blaze before the Israeli Defence Forces arrived at the scene. 

"The burning and desecration of Joseph's tomb is a blatant violation and contradiction of the basic value of freedom of worship," said IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner.

"The Israel Defence Forces will take all measures to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice, restore the site to its previous condition and ensure that the freedom of worship returns to Joseph's Tomb."

According to some journalists in the Middle East, the last time such an incident occurred at the Jewish site was during the second intifada or uprising. 

Many have compared the current escalation of violence, sparked partly due to Palestinian resentment over access restrictions at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, as a third intifada. 

A series of Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks, which led to three Israeli deaths this week, has pushed Israel to deploy its troops in Jerusalem and to even encourage citizens to carry guns.

Palestinians have called for a 'Day of Rage' on Friday as Israeli Police have said they will only allow men and women over 40 years of age to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque. 

The United Nations Security Council is set to hold a meeting on Friday to discuss the increasing violence between Palestinians and Israelis.