UAE FM says important not to violate sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque amid clashes

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The United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister stressed the importance of ceasing activities that violate the sanctity of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in a phone call with his Israeli counterpart, the official WAM news agency reported on Thursday.

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The call came amid clashes between Israelis and Palestinians at Islam’s third holiest site, which is also considered the most sacred place in Judaism.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan emphasized the need to respect the legal and historical status quo of Jerusalem in the phone call with Yair Lapid, highlighting the importance of recognizing Jordan’s guardianship of holy places under international law.

He welcomed the Israeli government's decisions to halt the ‘Israeli Flags March’ from reaching the Bab al-Amud area and prevent non-Muslim visitors from entering the al-Aqsa courtyards from Friday until the end of Ramadan.

At least 152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the mosque compound on Friday, stoking fears of escalating conflict.

Most of the Palestinian injuries were incurred from rubber bullets, stun grenades and beatings with police batons, the Palestine Red Crescent said.

The al-Aqsa compound sits atop the Old City plateau of East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, and is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as Temple Mount.

Tensions this year have been heightened in part by Ramadan coinciding with the Jewish celebration of Passover.

In a statement, Israeli police said hundreds of Palestinians hurled firecrackers and stones at their forces and toward the nearby Jewish prayer area of the Western Wall in the Old City after Ramadan morning prayers.

It said police then entered the al-Aqsa compound to “disperse and push back [the crowd and] enable the rest of the worshippers to leave the place safely,” adding that three officers were injured in the clashes.

The UAE summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest against clashes at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, the Gulf state’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

With Reuters

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