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Palestinians flock back to Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli security forces walk past the Dome of the Rock in Haram Al-Sharif compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday. (AFP)
AMMAN: Thousands of worshippers surged into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday after Israel lifted security measures imposed at the site.
Reuters reported at least 113 hurt in scuffles with Israeli police. Chaotic scenes unfolded as police used stun grenades to try to control crowds charging forward when the last gate Muslims use to enter Al-Aqsa was opened after a standoff lasting several hours.
“We will sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa,” chanted the throng outside Islam’s third-holiest site.
Several young men clambered onto the mosque’s roof to affix Palestinian flags, which Israeli police soon confiscated.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said during an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo: “Israel is playing with fire and will flare up a religious war. It will shift the grounds of the conflict from political to sectarian ones.”
In a statement, the ministers praised “the efforts of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (King Salman) to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
They called on the UN Security Council to oblige Israel to stop its policies and “illegal aggressions” in East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
The Saudi Royal Court on Thursday said King Salman had made contact with various world leaders regarding tensions in Jerusalem, sparked when Israel set up metal detectors at entry points to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Riyadh urged the US to exert all possible efforts to prevent the closure of the compound to Muslim worshippers and restrictions on their entry.
The Kingdom stressed the right of Muslims to pray and perform their religious duties at the mosque in peace.
King Salman stressed the need to restore calm in the area around the compound, and to respect the sanctity of the site.
Saudi Arabia also highlighted the importance of achieving a just and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, the two-state solution and relevant UN resolutions.
Nearly two weeks after being banned from praying in the mosque, Palestinians flocked there on Thursday afternoon for Asr prayers after Israel removed the metal detectors. This followed daily prayers on the hot pavement of Jerusalem’s streets.
The breakthrough was announced at a press conference on Thursday at the Islamic Court in Jerusalem.
It came after weeks of protests and high-level consultations that included Jordan’s King Abdallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior US officials including Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump.
A statement was issued by the newly established Islamic Religious Reference Group, comprising the director of the Waqf, the Supreme Islamic Council, the mufti of Jerusalem and the Court of Islamic Shariah. The statement called for an end to the protests outside the mosque.
Naser Abu Sharifa, a senior guard at the mosque, told Arab News: “Today is a wonderful day that has brought back a sliver of our pride and dignity, and allowed us to reunite with our beloved mosque.”
AMMAN: Thousands of worshippers surged into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday after Israel lifted security measures imposed at the site.
Reuters reported at least 113 hurt in scuffles with Israeli police. Chaotic scenes unfolded as police used stun grenades to try to control crowds charging forward when the last gate Muslims use to enter Al-Aqsa was opened after a standoff lasting several hours.
“We will sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa,” chanted the throng outside Islam’s third-holiest site.
Several young men clambered onto the mosque’s roof to affix Palestinian flags, which Israeli police soon confiscated.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said during an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo: “Israel is playing with fire and will flare up a religious war. It will shift the grounds of the conflict from political to sectarian ones.”
In a statement, the ministers praised “the efforts of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (King Salman) to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
They called on the UN Security Council to oblige Israel to stop its policies and “illegal aggressions” in East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
The Saudi Royal Court on Thursday said King Salman had made contact with various world leaders regarding tensions in Jerusalem, sparked when Israel set up metal detectors at entry points to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Riyadh urged the US to exert all possible efforts to prevent the closure of the compound to Muslim worshippers and restrictions on their entry.
The Kingdom stressed the right of Muslims to pray and perform their religious duties at the mosque in peace.
King Salman stressed the need to restore calm in the area around the compound, and to respect the sanctity of the site.
Saudi Arabia also highlighted the importance of achieving a just and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, the two-state solution and relevant UN resolutions.
Nearly two weeks after being banned from praying in the mosque, Palestinians flocked there on Thursday afternoon for Asr prayers after Israel removed the metal detectors. This followed daily prayers on the hot pavement of Jerusalem’s streets.
The breakthrough was announced at a press conference on Thursday at the Islamic Court in Jerusalem.
It came after weeks of protests and high-level consultations that included Jordan’s King Abdallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior US officials including Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump.
A statement was issued by the newly established Islamic Religious Reference Group, comprising the director of the Waqf, the Supreme Islamic Council, the mufti of Jerusalem and the Court of Islamic Shariah. The statement called for an end to the protests outside the mosque.
Naser Abu Sharifa, a senior guard at the mosque, told Arab News: “Today is a wonderful day that has brought back a sliver of our pride and dignity, and allowed us to reunite with our beloved mosque.”

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