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EU calls for holy sites to be respected

The EU warned yesterday against any "provocation" at Al Aqsa Mosque as violent clashes continued for a third day after Israeli settlers and the army stormed the mosque over the weekend and damaged large parts of it with rubber bullets and grenades.

"The reported violence and escalation [at the site] constitute a provocation and incitement ahead of important Jewish and Muslim holy days," European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters in Brussels.

"It is crucial that all parties demonstrate calm and restraint and full respect for the status quo of the holy sites," Kocijancic said. The 28-nation EU recently "issued an appeal for full respect of the holy sites and said very clearly that any change of the status quo would have deeply destablising effects," she added.

Israeli occupation forces have continued their assault on Palestinian worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the third day. Scores of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with the Israeli forces. Israeli police said five policemen were wounded.

The violence came after extremist Jewish groups calling for storming the third holiest site for Muslims during the Jewish holidays.

Palestinians believes Israel has been trying to change the status quo in Al-Aqsa as it plans to build a Jewish temple in its place. Israel denies the claim.

It is, however, currently trying to impose a partition plan based on allocating certain times and spaces in Al-Aqsa Mosque to Jewish settlers.

Pictures from the clashes can be seen in our photo gallery. Images from Anadoluarabi21.com and alkhaleejonline.net.

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