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Oman minister in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem holy site

AFP  |  Jerusalem 

An Omani made a rare visit by an Arab to a holy site today after holding talks with Palestinian leaders in the occupied

Yusuf bin Alawi, in charge of foreign affairs, visited the mosque compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, an reported.

His visit comes in the wake of US Donald Trump's controversial recognition of as Israel's capital on December 6, a move that angered the Muslim world.

Such a visit would usually require coordination with Israeli officials. An Israeli said he was unaware of the visit and could not immediately comment.

and do not have diplomatic relations, as is the case with most of the Arab world.

The mosque compound is the third-holiest site for Muslims and the scene of regular tensions between and Israeli authorities.

It is on the hill that Jews refer to as the Temple Mount, the most sacred place in Judaism as the site of the first and second Jewish temples in the biblical era.

Israeli has spoken repeatedly of improving ties with Arab nations in recent months, but there was no sign of a link to the ministers visit.

Bin Alawi visited the and mosque at the compound and said "it is a duty of Arabs to visit the mosque if they can".

Jerusalem's status is perhaps the most sensitive in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

occupied east in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. It sees the entire city as its capital.

The want Jerusalem's eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Bin Alawi met Palestinian in earlier in the day.

After the compound, Bin Alawi also visited the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 23:15 IST
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