A UN peace envoy said Saturday that he was “deeply concerned” by heightened tensions and violence in and around Jerusalem.
“Deeply concerned by the heightened tensions & violence in & around #Jerusalem. I call on all to act responsibly & maintain calm. All must respect the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City in the interest of peace & stability. Political & religious leaders must act now,” Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said on Twitter.
Wennesland’s comments followed a raid Friday by Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers inside the Haram al-Sharif area of Al-Aqsa Mosque, using stun grenades and gas bombs.
The number of injured rose to 178 in Israeli attacks at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Damascus Gate of the Old City and the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.