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Jordanian official visits Jerusalem mosque

April 24, 2012 at 8:09 AM

JERUSALEM, April 24 (UPI) -- Jordan's public security director secretly visited Jersualem's al-Aksa mosque, possibly to prepare for a visit by high-ranking Jordanians, officials said.

Lt. Gen. Hussein Hazza Majali visited the Jerusalem mosque on Monday and met with Azzam al-Khatib, the head of the Islamic Waqf, Yedioth Ahronoth said Tuesday. He also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Federation of Arab News Agencies said.

The newspaper said Jordan had asked Israel to keep Majali's visit secret and quoted diplomatic sources saying that in recent months a number of Jordanian officials have visited Jerusalem in response to a dispute over the renovation of the Mughrabi Bridge.

The footbridge located next to the Western Wall leads to the Temple Mount and connects the region's most sensitive sites, holy to both Jews and Muslims. Last year Jordan warned Israel against repairing the bridge which was deemed unsafe by Israeli engineers.

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Earlier this month Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, 18, escorted by Israeli security forces visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Sources in Jerusalem told the newspaper that the spate of visits by Jordanian officials may be a ploy by Jordan's King Abdullah to demonstrate his influence over east Jerusalem, the paper said.

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