'Temple Mount Clashes May Spark Religious War'

Pan-Islamic body calls for international intervention to end 'Israeli aggression,' reports AFP.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference on Saturday called the fighting one day earlier between Israel Police officers and Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount "a sacrilegious act of profanation of the holy Islamic site," according to French news agency AFP.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Jeddah-based pan-Islamic body, called for international intervention to end what he described as "Israeli aggression."

Clashes broke out between Israeli police officers and Muslim rock throwers at the end of Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem following a sermon on a recent Israeli decision to include two West Bank shrines on a list of national heritage sites.

Rocks were thrown from the direction of the mosques above toward Jews praying below at the Western Wall plaza. Israeli police entered the Temple Mount compound to quell the rock throwing. The stone throwers eventually retreated to inside the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Fifteen police officers were lightly hurt in the incident; three were transported to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, two to Shaare Zedek and the rest were treated at the scene.

Palestinians reported that dozens were injured by Israeli security forces.

The pan-Islamic body on Saturday said Israel's police action was "a violation of international law and a flagrant attack on the freedom of religion of the nature that could take the region into a war between religions," reported French news agency AFP.

The UN Security Council on Friday voiced concern over the fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank and urged both sides to resume peace talks.

President of the Security Council for March, Gabon's UN Ambassador Emmanuel Issoze-Ngondet, told reporters "The members of the Security Council expressed their concern at the current tense situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem."

"They urged all sides to show restraint and avoid provocative acts," he said after a closed-door meeting. "They stressed that peaceful dialogue was the only way forward and looked forward to an early resumption of negotiations."

The permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the council statement, adding that the U.S. decision not to block it "is a signal that the United States wants this effort to succeed" and Israel to restrain itself.

A U.S. official, however, told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the American delegation had not agreed with the statement and said it was adopted due to what the official described as "procedural confusion".

Council statements are agreed by consensus and are nonbinding. The U.S. delegation has often blocked proposed Security Council statements condemning Israel.