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Israel Closes Al-Aqsa, Warnings of ‘Religious War’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian man reads the Koran in al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City during the holy month of Ramadan. (photo credit:REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Ramallah- Israel closed on Thursday Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshipers, an escalatory move that upset the Palestinian Authority, which warned from a spatiotemporal divisional plan that could lead to a religious war.

On Thursday, while Israel was completely closing Al-Aqsa to Muslim worshippers, chief of the occupying Police Yuram Levi broke into the mosque with a group of Jewish extremists marking the anniversary for the killing of a Jewish settler.

The intruders commemorated the death of Hallel Ariel, a girl killed last year by a Palestinian in Al-Khalil, in Hebron.

Israel’s Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel later suggested naming Al-Mughrabi Gate after Hallel.

It is worth noting that Israel usually takes measures to prevent worshipers under a certain age from entering the mosque.

However, this time, they closed the mosque to all worshipers, a similar move that was taken in 2014.

“Israeli police closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque to all Muslims,” said Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of Al-Aqsa Affairs.

Later, the Palestinian government condemned the Israeli decision. PA spokesman Tareq Rashmawi said that such move “contradicts all human values and morals and is considered a serious abuse of all international laws.”

In a statement, Rashmawi called on the international community to take quick and binding decisions to stop the occupying authorities from committing additional crimes against the Palestinian people and their Muslim and Christian holy sites.

For his part, Mahmoud al-Habash, the supreme sharia judge in the Palestinian Authority said: “In taking such moves, Israel allows the drums of a religious war by inciting religious sentiments of one and a half billion Muslims around the world.”

Al-Habash also called on all Arabs to visit the mosque in an attempt to prevent the Israelis from producing a demographic and religious change in the Palestinian Holy capital, Jerusalem.