Muslim scholars condemn Israeli 'aggression' at Al-Aqsa

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) on Thursday condemned recent assaults by Israeli police on Palestinian Muslims inside Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

"The recent closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, along with assaults on worshipers by Israeli police, constitute blatant attacks on Islamic holy sites," the Doha-based IUMS said in a statement.

It also blamed Arab countries for allegedly seeking to normalize their relations with Israel.

"The [Arab] regimes rushing to normalize ties with the Zionist entity bear considerable responsibility [for the recent violence] by giving the green light for such attacks," the IUMS asserted.

It went on to urge the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take immediate action with a view to preempting what it described as "dangerous aggression" by Israel.

Tension has mounted in occupied East Jerusalem since last month, when Israeli police briefly sealed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound's Al-Rahma Gate, triggering angry demonstrations by local Palestinians.

In the weeks since, the Israeli authorities have banned scores of Palestinians -- including religious officials -- from entering the mosque complex, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

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