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Saudi king seeks 'urgent' action on Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque

Saudi King Salman appeals to UN chief, and members of Security Council for action over 'dangerous Israeli escalation' in Jerusalem
Palestinians inspect the damage at the entrance of Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem's Old City following clashes with Israeli riot police on 15 September 2015 (AA)

Saudi King Salman has appealed to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and members of the Security Council for "urgent measures" after clashes at occupied Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, state media reported late on Wednesday.

Salman "expressed strong condemnation of the dangerous Israeli escalation" at the holy site where Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli police for three straight days, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

"He called for serious and speedy international efforts and for the intervention of the Security Council to take all urgent measures to stop these violations," it said.

Salman added that the "attack on worshippers" violates the sanctity of religions "and contributes to feeding extremism and violence in the world".

SPA said Salman made the same appeal in phone calls to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande.

Hollande warned on Wednesday that any change in the rules governing Al-Aqsa mosque compound could lead to "serious destabilisation".

Palestinian protesters fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access and even efforts by fringe organisations to erect a new temple.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is committed to the "status quo", but Palestinians remain deeply suspicious. 

Netanyahu's right-wing party Likud party issued a statement on its website on Wednesday calling for its young supporters to raid the compound in the early hours of dawn on Thursday.

Since the latest round of clashes and daily raids into the compound began on Sunday, 60 Palestinians in Jerusalem have been arrested - the majority from within the Al-Aqsa compound. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information centre, 26 of the arrested were minors, including seven who are under the age of 12.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas accused Israel on Wednesday of "waging a fierce and relentless war against us in Jerusalem".

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the UN to act against the Israel’s "breach" of Al-Aqsa mosque.

In a phone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Erdogan described Israel’s actions as "unacceptable" and a cause for "serious indignation" in the Muslim world, according to a Turkish presidency source, who spoke under condition of anonymity.

Erdogan demanded the international community put pressure on Israel to accept the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

According to the source, Ban said the UN was concerned by recent developments and reiterated the importance of peace negotiations for reducing tension.

The two leaders agreed that Israel's insistence on expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory was against international law.

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