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Visitors tour the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on January 3, 2023. Image Credit: AP

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia condemned “provocative actions” by an Israeli official who it said had “stormed” the Al Aqsa mosque compound on Tuesday, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The foreign ministry expresses the condemnation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the provocative action by an Israeli official who stormed the Al Aqsa mosque compound,” the statement said.

Israel’s new far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was not referred to by name in the Saudi statement, briefly visited the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Tuesday, a site also revered by Jews.

The site has been the scene of frequent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces, most recently in April last year.

The US Embassy in Jerusalem said that Ambassador Thomas Nides “has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites. Actions that prevent that are unacceptable.”

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which acts as custodian of the contested shrine, condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit “in the strongest terms.”

Egypt warned against “negative repercussions of such measures on security and stability in the occupied territories and the region, and on the future of the peace process.”

Ben-Gvir’s stated intention of visiting the site earlier this week drew threats from the militant group Hamas.

Ben-Gvir wrote on Twitter after his visit that the site “is open to all and if Hamas thinks that if it threatens me it will deter me, they should understand that times have changed.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said that Ben-Gvir entering the site on Tuesday was “a continuation of the Zionist’s occupation aggression on our sacred places and war on our Arab identity.”