TEHRAN, August 20 (Mehr News Agency) – The current phase of Intifada which started after a provocative visit of present Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to a Muslim holy site has not ended, but it seems that Israeli hardliners have not taken a lesson from it.

Still entangled in the implications of the ominous visit, Israeli once again allowed non-Muslim foreign tourists and Israelis Wednesday to visit Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound despite opposition from Islamic leaders.


The visitors were accompanied by police who were mostly not

wearing uniform, an AFP correspondent in the Old City witnessed.


The visits came a day after a Palestinian bomber killed 18 people and wounded more than 120 after blowing himself up aboard a city bus nearby.


The mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, criticized the move for being made without prior approval of the Waqf, the Muslim authority in charge of the site.


Waqf officials have said previously that they were looking to

reopen the compound to help the Old City's struggling tourism

industry but said the Israeli government should not take a

unilateral decision.


Analysts believe that the Israeli radical cabinet has succeeded in its strategy of pitting the Palestinian against each other.


In a reaction to the blast, Palestinian prime minister Mahmud

Abbas condemned the "terrible" bus bombing in Bait ul Moqaddas Jerusalem as he called off planned talks with a hardline faction which claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.


"I strongly condemn this act," Abbas told reporters here.


Abbas said he had ordered his security minister Mohammed Dahlan to open an inquiry into the incident.


Abbas was speaking in Gaza where he was due to have held talks

Wednesday morning with leaders from Hamas which claimed to have carried out the bombing. Islamic Jihad also claimed the attack.


Abbas was holding talks with Islamic Jihad leaders when the

blast went off shortly after 9:00 pm (2100 GMT). Senior Islamic

Jihad figure Mohammed Al-Hindi told AFP that his organization had affirmed its commitment to the truce during the talks with Abbas.


A statement issued later by the Palestinian leadership, which

includes the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation

Organization, also condemned the attack.


Indeed the Israeli cabinet has been looking for such an opportunity to pit Muslims against Muslims to spread fratricide.


Approval for the visits was first announced last week by

Israel's Internal Security Minister Tsahi Hanegbi, who said that

failure to reach agreement with the Waqf would still not prevent the visits from taking place.


The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is both the

third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred spot in Judaism.


Some of the passengers on the bus blown up on Tuesday night were returning from a visit to the Western Wall, also known as the

Wailing Wall, the longest wall bordering the Temple Mount in

Jerusalem and holy to Jews.


In late July, Israeli police suspended visits to the site by

non-Muslims which had resumed several weeks earlier for the first

time since the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada in September



The Intifada, or uprising, erupted following a controversial

visit to the mosque compound by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he was still opposition leader.


News Code 1345

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