Israel closure of al-Aqsa mosque ramp 'a declaration of war'
Israel on Sunday night closed the Mughrabi ramp leading to the mosque compound in the Old City over public safety concerns in a move which was immediately condemned by Palestinians officials and Jordan, which is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
"This is a serious step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression again the Al-Aqsa mosque," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said.
"This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem," he said, calling for "Arab and Muslim mobilisation to stop this serious event."
Jerusalem city council says the ramp poses a fire hazard and could collapse onto the women's prayer section by the Western Wall.
But Muslim leaders fear its demolition could destabilise the mosque compound and accuse Israel of failing to coordinate its renovation with Waqf, which oversees Islamic heritage sites.
The closure prompted a swift response from Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina who warned it was another Israeli "attack" on efforts to revive the moribund peace talks which could shake up the region.
"These practices create a negative atmosphere in the entire region that could plunge the area into turmoil and tension," he warned.
Jordan's powerful Islamists denounced the decision as "flagrant aggression."
"This is a very dangerous move," the head of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, Hammam Said, told AFP.
"The only solution against this entity (Israel) is resistance in order to protect the sanctity of the holy places against such flagrant aggression," he said.
There are 15 gates leading into the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, 10 of which are in use.
The Mughrabi Gate is the only access for non-Muslims to enter the site, meaning its closure will prevent both Jews and tourists from visiting until a replacement structure is built.
9 gates for Muslims, and this bridge is the only one for non-Muslims, and still Muslims get upset and rattle swords.
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