13:22 GMT +320 October 2018
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    Israeli border police detain a Palestinian youth as crowds make their way through the Israeli Qalandia checkpoint, in the occupied West Bank between Ramallah and Jerusalem, to attend Friday prayer of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, on June 16, 2017

    Abbas Slams Israel for Closing Al-Aqsa Mosque, Forcing Believers Outside

    © AFP 2018 / ABBAS MOMANI
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called on Friday for an end to Israel's actions in the sacred Muslim mosque of Al-Aqsa in Eastern Jerusalem.

    "All the excavations that threaten the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque are completely unacceptable and must be stopped. Any measures that would change the religious and historical status [of the mosque] will only lead to further deterioration of the situation and escalation," the Palestinian leader said in a statement, as quoted by the WAFA news agency.

    Earlier in the day, media reported that Israeli police had shut down the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The closure came after the police claimed that an unidentified man attempted to stab a police officer near the mosque.

    Abbas convened an urgent governmental meeting on Friday to discuss the issue.

    The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which have been built on ruins of Jewish temples, are considered to be Islam's third holiest sites. Friday prayers in these mosques bring together thousands of Muslims.

    The conflicts surrounding the Temple Mount have triggered numerous escalations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Related:

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    Iran's FM Urges OIC to Work With Int'l Community to Address Al-Aqsa Issue
    Erdogan: Israel Seeks to Take Over Al-Aqsa Mosque Under Security Pretext
    ‘Campaign for Jerusalem Has Begun’: Fatah Vows to Win Control of Al-Aqsa Mosque
    Tags:
    police, closure, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Mahmoud Abbas, Israel, Palestine
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