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Sheikh Sabri: Israel set to desecrate Aqsa Mosque, facilitate incursions by extremists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian devotees pray on Laylat al-Qadr outside the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of al-Quds during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on April 27, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

A respected and senior Palestinian cleric has strongly condemned the latest wave of Israeli aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, saying that the Tel Aviv regime is set to further desecrate the holy site and facilitate relentless incursions by extremist settler groups.

“As everyone knows, tens of thousands of Muslims go to al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan and offer prayers there. The process is not pleasant to the occupying regime. Zionists are, therefore, trying to prevent worshipers from entering the sacred place by creating obstacles and tensions during Ramadan,” Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, president of the Supreme Islamic Council in al-Quds, said in an exclusive interview with Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam television news network broadcast on Wednesday evening.

He said Israel is furtively seeking to reach its objectives, and has lately contacted officials from neighboring countries to feign that it is seeking a ceasefire and working to ease tensions.

“This is while the regime is dogged to escalate tensions, and the false claim of ceasefire is entirely meant to help occupiers and extremist Jewish groups achieve their goals,” Sabri noted.

The imam at Islam’s third holiest mosque and also the former mufti of al-Quds noted that extremist Jewish groups have found that the time is ripe to advance their goals, firstly because the current Israeli administration is in a weak position and relies on Jewish groups to survive, and secondly, Israelis have inclination toward extremism being spread by Jewish groups.

‘Normalization, Arab monarchs’ silence behind escalation of tensions’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sabri said the latest developments in the Muslim world, especially the normalization of diplomatic relations and the silence of some Arab rulers, can be considered another reason for the escalation of tensions and violations of red lines by Israel.

He highlighted that the media coverage of Israeli acts of aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has put the Palestinian nation in a stronger position, and demonstrations were accordingly staged in Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran and even in the United States and Europe in support of al-Aqsa Mosque.

‘Zionists will have no right over al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque’

Sabri added that International Quds Day reminds Muslims worldwide, whose population is estimated to be at more than two billion, that al-Quds is a central issue and has a pivotal role.

International Quds Day falls on last Friday of holy month of Ramadan, during which people rally across the world in support of the Palestinian cause of liberation from Israeli aggression and occupation. The occasion has been designated by Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

“Any action by the occupying Israeli regime is void, illegal and inhumane. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has described al-Quds as an occupied and historical city. No matter how much the occupiers would try to impose their laws, jurisdiction and administration there, they have no right to al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque,” the cleric said.

‘Zionists are weak’

He emphasized that political Palestinian factions, irrespective of some differences between them, agree on the need for popular mobilization in order to defend al-Aqsa Mosque.

“At Arab and Islamic levels, nations must mobilize and utilize political, diplomatic and official means to place the Israeli regime under pressure. There are two billion Muslims worldwide. They must perform their duties, and solve their problems themselves,” Sabri highlighted.

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