Egypt Live Blog
Egypt - Apr 18, 2012 - 22:23
A top Egyptian Islamic cleric paid a rare visit to Jerusalem Wednesday, breaking with decades of opposition by Muslim leaders on traveling to areas under Israeli control.
The Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa wrote on his Twitter account that the symbolic visit was in solidarity with the Palestinians' claim to east Jerusalem, under Israel's control since it was captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
He prayed in the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, during his two-hour visit.
Gomaa called the trip an unofficial visit, clearly an attempt to defuse criticism he is already facing for breaking an unofficial ban by Muslim clerics and most Egyptian professional and private associations on visiting Israel or Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories.
The Egyptian Coptic Church, and most Muslim clerics around the region generally uphold the ban as well.