Iranian urges Islamic states to retaliate against Israeli work at Jerusalem holy site

Wednesday, February 7th 2007, 8:11 am
By: News On 6

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday called on Islamic nations to retaliate against Israel for its construction work at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, state TV reported.

``The world of Islam should show a serious reaction to the Zionist regime's insult to Al-Aqsa Mosque,'' the report quoted Khamenei as saying during a meeting with Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the leader of Islamic Jihad in Palestine, a hard-line Palestinian group based in Damascus.

Khamenei did not say what sort of response he intended, but he said the Islamic world should make Israel ``regret'' what it is doing.

On Tuesday, Israel began building a walkway up to the compound in the Old City where Islamic tradition says the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Jews revere the same place as the site of their ancient temples.

Israel says the construction is required to replace a centuries-old earthen ramp that partially collapsed in a snowstorm three years ago. It has promised the work will not harm any Islamic holy sites, but its assurances have not been accepted by Muslims.

Palestinian leaders have condemned the work. Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Tuesday. There were scuffles Wednesday when a hard-line Israeli Islamic leader approached the site with his followers.

In Tehran, 206 Iranian legislators issued a statement condemning the construction work, which is expected to last eight months.