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Syria: Israel tried to destroy Al-Aksa Mosque

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syria accused Israel of trying to destroy the Al-Aksa Mosque.

Syria "believes the Israeli security forces’ invasion of Al-Aksa was part of Israel’s scheme to Judaize Jerusalem and destroy the mosque," read a statement released Monday by the Syrian Foreign Ministry.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry official was quoted by the official state news agency as praising the "steadfast defenders" of the site, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews.

The statement came a day after Arab rioters attacked Israeli police officers with stones, firebombs and oil on the Temple Mount. Officers stormed the mount carrying glass shields for protection, but did not enter the mosques.

The violence followed repeated calls Saturday by Muslim leaders appealing to Arabs to come protect Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from "Jewish conquest."

On Sunday, Jordan’s minister for media affairs and communication, Nabil Sharif, warned Israel that "provocative behavior" by Israeli troops and "Jewish extremists" could "derail all opportunities of peace and stability in the region."

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