World Bulletin/News Desk
A senior figure of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on Sunday called on Pope Francis to drop a scheduled visit to the Western Wall, dismissing the visit as recognition of Israel's claim to the Islamic site.
"The pontiff's visit to Palestine is most welcome, given the fact that it underlines the rights of the Palestinians to their land," Hassan Youssef told Anadolu Agency.
He, however, said the Pope should reconsider his scheduled visit to the wall, citing what he described as "extremely dangerous" strategic dimensions for the visit.
The wall is located at the foot of the western side of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Muslims describe the area as Al-Buraq Wall and regard it as part of Al-Aqsa compound, which hosts Islam third holiest shrine.
Jews refer to the area as the Wailing Wall and regard it as a sacred Jewish site.
Youssef, meanwhile, called on Pope Francis to speak against Israeli violations against mosques and churches in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli excavations beneath Al-Aqsa and the demolition of Palestinian homes.
The Pope of the Vatican has started a visit to the central West Bank city of Bethlehem earlier on Sunday.
He met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and headed to the Church of the Nativity for a mass.
The pontiff will also meet a number of Palestinian families and visit a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem.
He is also expected to visit Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) where he will visit Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as some Christian sites.
Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2014, 11:53