RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday condemned what it described as the “provocative act” of “extremist” Israeli minister in storming Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and a group of settlers had earlier visited Al-Aqsa Mosque amid rising tensions between the Israeli army and Palestinians in the West Bank.
In a statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said the visit was a “flagrant violation” of international law and “provocation” to Muslims across the world.
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“The Kingdom holds the Israeli army accountable for the consequences of such repeated violations,” the foreign ministry said.
It urged the international community to interfere in ending the Israeli army’s escalation and providing the necessary protection for Palestinian civilians.
Jordan has also condemned the minister’s visit, warning that breaches on holy sites could lead to further escalation.
In a statement, Jordan “warned of the serious consequences of allowing extremists to break into the holy shrine and carry out provocative practices under the protection of the Israeli occupation police.”
Thursday was Ben-Gvir’s third known visit to the contested site since becoming a minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government.
The Israeli minister was joining what will likely be hundreds of Jews visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av, a day of mourning and repentance when Jews reflect on the destruction of the First and Second Temples, key events in Jewish history.