Sisi reiterates support for Palestinians in wake of Jerusalem holy site violence

Ahram Online , Friday 18 Sep 2015

Last week Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, injuring worshippers

Sissi  - Mahmoud Abbas
In this photo provided by Egypt's state news agency MENA, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, right, meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. (AP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday that he has been following closely the unfortunate events taking place at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a statement by the presidency read.

Last week, Israeli forces stormed the mosque compound for a period of three days, firing rubber bullets at worshippers and injuring dozens.

El-Sisi affirmed to Abbas his support for the Palestinian people and leadership, adding that Egypt looks forward to the future time when East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. 

Also on Thursday, Egypt’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke with his British counterpart, Philip Hammond, and said that the continued Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque “are a great danger and restrict attempts to reinitiate peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides.”

In his phone call with Hammond, Shoukry called on the British and the international community for “immediate interference” to stop such attacks.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is home to both Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, and the Islamic shrine the Dome of the Rock. The mount is Judaism's holiest site. 

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

For several years Egypt has operated as a negotiator between the Palestinians and Israelis, including during the 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, which killed 2,100 Palestinians and 67 Israeli soldiers.

Earlier this month, Egypt accepted the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's invitation to join the Middle East Quartet meeting on 30 September to discuss diplomatic solutions to restore Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been on hold since last summer, following Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip.

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