Saudi Arabia condemns Israeli minister’s visit to Al-Aqsa mosque compound

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry on Sunday strongly condemned a visit by an Israeli official to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

In a statement, the ministry said such actions represent “a flagrant violation of all international norms and covenants” as well as a provocation to the sentiments of Muslims worldwide.

“The ministry holds the Israeli occupation forces fully responsible for the repercussions of the continuation of these violations,” added the statement.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday, a controversial move by the extreme-right politician amid heightened tensions in annexed east Jerusalem.

The move came three days after Ben-Gvir and tens of thousands of Jewish nationalists marched through the Old City and just over a week into a fragile Gaza ceasefire.

Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and is administered by Jordan. Non-Muslims are permitted to visit the site, but not pray there.

The compound is also the most sacred site for Jews, who pray below it at the Western Wall.

Tours of the site by Jewish nationalists have long been criticized by Palestinians and Arab nations, while Ben-Gvir’s visits have taken on added weight since he took office in December.

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