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Muslim Officials Call on Israel to Stop Repairs Near Mosque Complex


Muslim leaders have called on Israel to halt repairs near two holy sites in Jerusalem.

Speaking in Tehran Wednesday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Islamic nations to retaliate against Israel for its work on a ramp near what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary.

The compound holds the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock shrine.

Egypt and Jordan also have called on Israel to suspend the project.

Earlier Wednesday, Muslim demonstrators outside Jerusalem's Old City scuffled with Israeli police. The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, and six others were taken into custody. Salah was ordered to stay away from the Old City for 10 days.

Muslims say the repairs endanger the mosques, a charge Israel says is untrue.

The site is sacred to Muslims and Jews. Disputes over the area have triggered Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The compound once held the ancient Jewish temple, destroyed by the Romans almost two thousand years ago. A massive wall, called the Western Wall, below the compound buttresses the Sanctuary and is revered by Jews as the only remaining retaining wall of the ancient temple.

The ramp provides access to the compound.

As work continued Wednesday, Israel deployed around 2,000 police in the Old City.

The police are restricting access to the holy sites as work continues.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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