Abbas: Closure of al-Aqsa holy site a ‘declaration of war’

Israeli border police near the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on October 30, 2104. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s closure of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an assassination attempt on Wednesday, is tantamount to a “declaration of war,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday morning.

Abbas’s remarks came after an Arab suspect in the shooting of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist was killed in a gunfight with the police in the mixed Jewish-Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor. Police closed the compound early Thursday out of fear of clashes in the wake of the shooting of Yehudah Glick, who campaigned for Jewish rights on the site, and as Israeli right-wing groups vowed to march on the site.

“This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation,” Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.

The director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque called the site’s closure unacceptable…