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Threats against sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque must cease: Turkish president

Israeli police raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem are “unacceptable,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, calling on Israel to abandon steps that are fueling tensions.

“The intrusions and threats against the sanctity and historical significance of Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as Palestinians’ freedom of religion and life must cease,” Erdogan said in a televised interview.

His remarks came after tensions escalated when Israeli police detained around 350 worshippers from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

A group of Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex after Jewish settlers called for a raid on the mosque. They attempted to prevent police from entering by closing its doors.

Surrounding the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall, Israeli police went up to the roof of the mosque, smashed windows, and initially used sound bombs against worshippers inside. Some in the mosque tried to resist police by throwing fireworks.

“We will continue to stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters under all circumstances and to protect our sacred values. Israel should know this as well,” Erdogan said.

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