Palestinian leader accuses Israel of religious war
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas - AP
AP

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian president has accused Israel of igniting a “religious war” by allowing Jewish worshippers to visit a contested holy site in Jerusalem.

Mahmoud Abbas says the visits are provocative, and that Palestinian worshippers will defend the site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Jews are allowed to visit, but they are not supposed to pray there. An increase in the number of visits has sparked clashes and raised Muslim fears that Israel is plotting to take over the site and sparked clashes.

Abbas’ remarks — at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat — came as Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian demonstrator in clashes in the West Bank on Tuesday.

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