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Arab League: Israel 'playing with fire' over Jerusalem

July 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Israeli security forces attack Palestinians after Muslim worshippers perform Friday prayer, outside Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound 20 July 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The Arab League has warned Israel is “playing with fire” over the “red line” of Jerusalem and its foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday over Israeli-Palestinian violence, according to statements on Sunday.

Israel sent extra troops into the occupied West Bank on Saturday after violence erupted over Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City.

A Palestinian attacker stabbed to death three Israelis at an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank on Friday, and hours earlier three Palestinians were killed. In Jerusalem on Saturday, Israeli police used riot gear to disperse dozens of Palestinians who threw stones and bottles at them.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement:

Jerusalem is a red line that Muslims and Arabs cannot allow to be crossed,… and what is happening today is an attempt to impose a new reality on the Holy city.

The Israeli government is playing with fire and risking a major crisis with the Arab and Islamic world.

Arab League foreign ministers will hold emergency talks in Cairo on Wednesday, the group said in a statement.

The United Nations Security Council plans to meet on Monday to discuss the bloodiest spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence for years. Sweden, Egypt and France requested the meeting to urgently discuss de-escalation in Jerusalem.

Pope Francis said on Sunday he was alarmed by the recent violence in Jerusalem and called for dialogue and moderation to help restore peace.

Israeli military commanders have warned violence may escalate, and have urged the Israeli government to remove the metal detectors.

Follow our live blog: Day of Rage at Al-Aqsa Mosque