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Arab League Condemns Israeli Move

August 12, 1999

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ The Arab League on Wednesday condemned Israel’s closure of an opening in a wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, saying it harmed sanctity of the holy site.

The league said Tuesday’s move by Israeli police contradicted the statements of Prime Minister Ehud Barak who has promised to reactivate the Mideast peace process.

Muslim leaders have said the opening is part of renovations being carried out by the Islamic Trust and that Israeli authorities have no right to interfere.

The Israeli government said the enlargement violated a status-quo agreement.

The compound is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, or the site of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. It contains the Dome of the Rock, the site of where Islam’s Prophet Mohammed is believed to have ascended to heaven, as well as the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Israel captured the compound in east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. It has given the Islamic Trust a great deal of autonomy in administering the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques.

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