JERUSALEM, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Israel's far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the compound that houses the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Tuesday, a move condemned by Palestinians as provocative and despite warnings it could lead to violence.
The Ynet news website carried pictures of Ben-Gvir touring the site under heavy security. The compound is Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina and Judaism's most sacred, where Jews believe two ancient temples are located.
Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid had warned that such a visit by Ben-Gvir would spark violence.
Only Muslim worship is allowed at the site, and there was no indication that Ben-Gvir had prayed during his visit.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa mosque by the extremist minister Ben-Gvir and views it as unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict."
Ben-Gvir was sworn in last week as part of a new government led by Benjamin Netanyahu that includes far-right and religious parties.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.