Nablus (Hebrew: Shechem) is a city of about 300,000 located in the West Bank, about 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem. Its residents are Palestinians. It is the location of several holy sites of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It was founded as a Roman city named Neapolis, about 2 kilometers east of the site of the Biblical city of Shechem.
In the latest Palestinian intifada (2000- ) the Palestinians destroyed the local Jewish holy sites (serveral times) and sent out dozens of suicide and "regular" terrorists out of Nablus into Israel. The deaths of many Israeli civilians resulted. Israel responded in March 2002 by invading the city and arresting many of its residents who were involved in terror. Israeli incursions back into Nablus and Palestinian terror attacks continue as of May 2003.
Since late July 2003, Nablus has been torn apart by armed gang war, raged by Palestinian militias, local bandits and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (a terrorist organization linked to Yasser Arafat). That armed war led to chaos and anarchy on the street of Nablus. Following the assissination of his brother by the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades, Nablus's mayor, Bassam Shaqawa, published an open letter on the press - in which he calls for the Palestinian Authority to restore order in the torn city.