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Saudi king seeks 'urgent' UN action on Al-Aqsa

A Palestinian man lies on an alley leading to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City after scuffles with Israeli riot police on September 14, 2015
Thomas Coex (AFP)
'Israel in contact with Jordan in bid to calm tensions' at Jerusalem flashpoint

Saudi King Salman has appealed to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and members of the Security Council for "urgent measures" after clashes at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, state media reported.

Salman "expressed strong condemnation of the dangerous Israeli escalation" at the holy site where Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli police for three straight days, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

"He called for serious and speedy international efforts and for the intervention of the Security Council to take all urgent measures to stop these violations," it said.

Salman added that the "attack on worshippers" violates the sanctity of religions "and contributes to feeding extremism and violence in the world."

Thomas Coex (AFP)

SPA said Salman made the same appeal in phone calls to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande.

Hollande warned on Wednesday that any change in the rules governing Al-Aqsa mosque compound could lead to "serious destabilization."

The third-holiest site in Islam, the compound is also the holiest site in Judaism which venerates it as the Temple Mount.

Under longstanding regulations, Jews are allowed to visit but cannot pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

Muslim protesters fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access and even efforts by fringe organisations to erect a new temple.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is committed to the "status quo", but Palestinians remain deeply suspicious.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas accused Israel on Wednesday of "waging a fierce and relentless war against us in Jerusalem".

Ahmad Gharabli (AFP/File)

Senior officials in Israel have been in contact with their Jordanian counterparts over the past two days in a bid to calm tensions, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Israel has been sending messages directly to Jordan and via the US government, according to the report, and senior officials in Jerusalem have said that Israel does not intend to make any change to the status quo at the holy site.

Jordan's king warned Israel on Monday that any further "provocation" in Jerusalem where Israeli police have clashed with Muslims at Al-Aqsa mosque would damage ties between the two countries.

(With AFP)

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