Palestinians "deeply concerned" over Israel's continued closure of Al-Aqsa mosque

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-15 18:21:03|Editor: Zhou Xin
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RAMALLAH, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian national unity government said Saturday it is "deeply concerned" over Israel's closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem for the second consecutive day.

The Palestinian government is following the Israeli measures against the Muslim holy place with deep concern, while warning that such steps "could lead to endanger the status quo at Al-Aqsa mosque and occupied Jerusalem," government spokesperson Yousef Al-Mahmoud said in an emailed statement.

Al-Mahmoud said that closing down Al-Aqsa mosque is considered "a serious infringement on houses of worship and the sanctity of one of the holiest places for Arabs and Muslims, in addition to being a flagrant violation of all international laws and conventions."

Al-Aqsa mosque remains closed Saturday for the second day in a row after Israel decided, in an unprecedented move, to ban the prayers at the mosque and declare it a closed area, following Friday's clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces that left three Palestinians and two Israeli officers dead.

The al-Aqsa mosque compound, holy to both Muslims and Jews, is one of the most sensitive sites in the region. It is revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

On Friday morning, after joining the morning prayer at the mosque, three Arab citizens of Israel opened fire at a group of Israeli police officers near the gates of the compound, injuring two officers who later died in hospital from their wounds, and moderately injuring a third officer.

The Arab gunmen were subsequently shot and killed by Israeli police, and Israel closed the mosque to Muslim prayers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday spoke over the phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, assuring him Israel will keep the status quo in East Jerusalem's holy compound.