WASHINGTON (Nov. 25)
The State Department today branded as “lies” the latest charge by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that the United State and Israel were trying to seize the main mosques in the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement in Teheran where his followers are holding 49 Americans hostage in the U.S. Embassy, Khomeini said yesterday that It appears the United States and its corrupt colony, Israel, are attempting to occupy ” the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, two of the holiest shrines of the Moslem would.
“Our response to these accusations is the same as we have been saying for some time,” State Department spokesman Don Hamilton told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. “Such comments and statement are lies.” Saudi Arabian officials had previously denied the allegations from Teheran, first made by Khomeini last week, when Moslem extremists occupied the mosque in Mecca.
In Islamabad, Pakistan, where Khomeini’s inflammatory statements incited a mob to burn down the U.S. Embassy last week, killing two Americans, the accusation was repeated that the Americans and “Zionists” were responsible for the seizure of the mosque in Mecca.
The State Department’s initial response to Khomeini’s charges was made last week by chief spokesman Hodding Carter who called them “lies. Asked by on Arab reporter if he was specifically absolving Israel, Carter replied with some heat, “absolutely.”