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Saudi urged Netanyahu to reopen Al-Aqsa

US President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) during their arrival at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 20, 2017 [Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council / Anadolu Agency]
US President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) during their arrival at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 20, 2017 [Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council / Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia's King Salman is reported to have personally intervened to ensure the reopening of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Arab sources reported that the reopening of the sanctuary to worshippers and tourists on Sunday came after the intervention of the King of Saudi Arabia through a third party; the United States.

The source added that Netanyahu pledged not to touch the status quo agreement that governed the sharing of Jerusalem's holy places by various faiths and sects.

Large sections of the Israeli society however see the status quo as an obstacle to their plans for the erection of the third Jewish Temple over Muslim and Christian holy sites. Their claim to the Al-Aqsa compound has become increasingly violent over the years.

Last Friday's closure of the holy compound by Israeli forces hours before Muslim conducted Friday prayers was the latest instance where the status quo agreement was violated.

Read: 54 Palestinians injured during clashes at Al-Aqsa

The move prompted anger among Muslim worshippers and was condemned by Palestinian religious and political leaders, Jordan and the OIC.

King Salman, who chaired a Cabinet meeting yesterday in Jeddah, is also said to have condemned the Israeli decision. Arab News reported that the King expressed "deep concern over the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli occupation authorities".

The cabinet accused the Israelis of carrying out "flagrant offenses to Muslim sentiments around the world".

According to Arab news agency Elaph, Netanyahu wanted to ease concerns over the status quo agreement. He is reported to have called on Saudi officials to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque to witness firsthand the situation on the ground but did not receive a response from Riyadh.

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IsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineSaudi Arabia
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