UN Expresses ‘Grave Concern’ Over Jerusalem Violence

The United Nations Security Council is expressing “grave concern” after violence this week at Jerusalem’s holiest site and is calling for restraint and calm.

The council statement was issued late Thursday after three days of clashes at the hilltop compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary .

The council statement says Muslims at the site “must be allowed to worship in peace, free from violence, threats and provocations.”

It also says that “visitors should be without fear of violence or intimidation.”

Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdul Aziz spoke by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday and sharply condemned the “dangerous Israeli escalation at Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The Saudi press agency reported that Salman told Obama that “the attack on worshipers at the mosque [earlier this week] is an offense against the Islamic holy places.”

The White House confirmed that the two leaders spoke about the Temple Mount, but did provide further details.

The king called on Obama to take immediate steps to stop “the Israeli attacks, including intervening with the UN Security Council to protect the Palestinian people,” adding, “The Israeli attacks contribute to feeding extremism and violence in the world.”