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

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(AFP) – An Omani minister made a rare visit by an Arab official to a Jerusalem holy site on Thursday after holding talks with Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank.

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

His visit comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem 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 foreign ministry spokesman said he was unaware of the visit and could not immediately comment.

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

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

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