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Arab League holds emergency meet, condemns Israeli aggression on al-Aqsa

An Israeli soldier arrests a Palestinian youth after a raid on worshipers observing religious rituals in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds during the holy fasting month of Ramadan on April 5, 2023. (Photo by Shehab)

The Arab League has vehemently condemned the latest Israeli aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City of al-Quds and the brutal assault on Palestinian worshipers observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The 22-member organization held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss circumstances surrounding the latest storming of the Muslim holy site by the Israeli regime forces and their violent raid against Palestinians performing Ramadan-related rituals there.

“We strongly condemn the crimes of the occupiers against defenseless worshipers in al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Arab League Ministerial Council said in a statement.

“We strongly condemn any violation and attack by the Zionist occupation regime against Islamic and Christian holy places.”

The Council affirmed the right of Muslims and Christians to have safe and unrestricted access to their places of worship and to freely preach and practice their religious beliefs.

Holding Israel responsible for the crimes and measures that undermine freedom of worship in Islamic and Christian holy sites in the occupied al-Quds, the Arab League Ministerial Council said such actions constitute a flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions, international law and international humanitarian law.

“These attacks and crimes are a flagrant provocation to the feelings of believers everywhere, and threaten to ignite a spiral of violence that threatens security and stability in the region and the world,” the Council warned.

The Council called on the member states to take the necessary steps and measures at all levels, including launching an intensive diplomatic move, in order to protect the city of al-Quds, defend its Islamic and Christian sanctities, and support the political, social, economic and human rights of its people.

It also praised the “steadfastness” of Palestinians in the occupied city of al-Quds for defending al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites in the face of the Israeli occupation forces’ crimes and systematic brutal attacks.

‘Israel must stop this dangerous escalation’

Earlier on Wednesday, the secretary-general of the League of Arab, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, condemned the Israeli forces' storming of al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on the international community to compel Israel to stop what he described as the dangerous escalation on the ground in the occupied territories.

Aboul Gheit said in a statement that such irresponsible actions in the holy places affect the religious feelings of millions of Muslims around the world.

Aboul Gheit called on the international community to act quickly to force Israel to stop this dangerous escalation, which threatens to ignite the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

He also called on the Israeli regime to stop these provocative actions, warning against the consequences of exporting the internal political crisis in Israel to the Palestinian people.

Dozens of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday night before firing tear gas and stun grenades into the Qibli prayer hall, where hundreds of men, women, elderly people and children were staying overnight to pray. Some eyewitnesses said rubber-coated steel bullets were also fired.

Israeli officers then beat worshipers with batons and riot guns, wounding many, before arresting them.

Videos from inside the mosque showed Israeli officers repeatedly hitting people with batons while they appeared to lie on the floor. In the meantime, the cries for help from women and children could be heard in the background.

Since the start of the holy month, the Israeli regime has imposed strict restrictions on the entry and exit of Palestinians to and from the gates of al-Aqsa Mosque. Amid heightened tensions with Palestinian worshipers, Israeli settlers also press ahead with their frequent incursions and provocative rituals at the holy site.

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