Egypt calls on Israel to immediately stop violence against Palestinians at Al-Aqsa

Ahram Online , Friday 21 Jul 2017

An Israeli soldier shoots tear gas at Palestinians during clashes in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, Friday, July 21, 2017(Photo: AP)

Egypt has called on Israel to put an immediate stop to violence and to escalated security measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem and in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa mosque, after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with occupation forces at the mosque on Friday.

An Egyptian foreign ministry statement expressed Cairo’s “deep concerns” about the repercussions of the escalating security measures and its strong aversion to the deaths and injuries of civilians due to excessive use of force.

Three Palestinians were killed and more than 200 injured when occupation forces attacked worshippers outside Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem following Friday prayers.

"Egypt stresses that Israel should respect the sanctity of religious sites and the right of Palestinians to practice religious rituals within a free and safe atmosphere, without punitive measures or unfair restrictions that fuel feelings of resentment among the Palestinian people and the entire Muslim world.

The statement called on Israel to prevent the situation spiralling out of control, “which could abort peace efforts to encourage the Palestinian and Israeli sides to resume negotiations with the aim of reaching a just and lasting settlement to the Palestinian cause.”

On Thursday, Israeli occupation police said they were barring men under 50 from entering Jerusalem's Old City for Friday Muslim prayers as tensions rose over new Israeli security measures at mosque.

Last Friday, Israel closed Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshippers seeking to perform Friday prayers for the first time since Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 to install metal detectors at entrances.

After Israel reopened the mosque on Sunday Palestinians refused to enter Al-Aqsa through the detectors, with hundreds camping around the premises throughout the week to protest Israeli actions.

On Thursday, Egypt's Al-Azhar – the world’s highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning –issued a statement expressing its “extreme concern” over the “provocative measures” by Israeli forces at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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