US 'concerned' by Israeli far-right minister's visit to Al-Aqsa compound
'We absolutely are concerned by today’s visit to Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif,' State Dept. deputy spokesman says
By Iclal Turan
WASHINGTON - The US is concerned by the Israeli far-right national security minister’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the State Department said Thursday.
“We absolutely are concerned by today’s visit to Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem,” spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters, reaffirming the US position in support of the historic status quo of holy sites.
“We underline Jordan's special role in Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem,” he said. “Any unilateral action or rhetoric that deviates or jeopardizes the status quo is completely unacceptable,” he added.
The minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, led a group Thursday of far-right Jewish settlers to the Al-Aqsa compound in occupied East Jerusalem. About 1,700 far-right Jewish settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to an official from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.
Türkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Saudi Arabia condemned the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Ben-Gvir and the settlers.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third-holiest site. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where 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.
Israeli forces and fanatical Jewish settlers frequently carry out raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque to provoke Palestinians, and in recent years, the site has seen the incursions grow larger and more brazen.
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