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Hamas calls on Arab, Muslim countries to expel Israeli ambassadors

April 16, 2014 9:51 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2014 2:48 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Spokesman for the Hamas movement Fawzi Barhoum on Wednesday called on all Arab and Muslim leaders to expel Israeli ambassadors in their countries in order to pressure Israel to end its attacks and violations on Palestinians.

Barhoum said in a statement that recurring Israeli raids on Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque are "a dangerous Zionist approach," and part of a "religious war."

The statement come amid daily clashes around the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, as the Passover holiday has brought raids by Israeli police as well as right-wing Jewish groups that call for the construction of a Jewish temple in the mosque's place.

Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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