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Jordan to recall envoy to Israel over Al-Aqsa breaches

The Jordanian government will recall its ambassador to Israel to protest the latter’s recent practices against Muslim worshippers in the Jordan-administered Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem, the official Jordanian news agency reported Wednesday.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour has instructed Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh to summon Jordan’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv, Walid Obeidat, to discuss Israel’s “unprecedented escalations at the holy site and its repeated violations in the city of Jerusalem,” the news agency said.

Earlier Wednesday, a group of extremist Jewish settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Israeli forces clashed with Muslim worshippers inside the premises.

Eyewitnesses also said that Israeli police had attacked dozens of worshippers and religious students outside the complex in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Tension has been running high in East Jerusalem since Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Thursday after an extremist rabbi was injured in a west Jerusalem shooting.

Israeli authorities reopened Al-Aqsa on Friday following a day of violent clashes with Palestinian protesters, but barred male Muslim worshippers under 50 years old from entering the site.

The Jordanian government has said that Israel’s latest practices in Jerusalem were undermining its 1994 peace treaty with the self-proclaimed Jewish state, which reaffirmed Jordanian oversight on Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Tensions have mounted in Jerusalem since Israeli forces killed a young Palestinian man – who had been suspected of shooting the rabbi – in a raid on his East Jerusalem home last week.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.

In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the “Second Intifada,” a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

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