SAUDI FOOTBALLERS VISIT JERUSALEM MUSLIM HOLY SITE AHEAD OF PALESTINE GAME IN WEST BANK

Players from Saudi Arabia’s national football team travelled to Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday to pray at one of Islam’s holiest sites.

The players visited the Noble Sanctuary, a compound that houses the Golden Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam.

“This is the most beautiful day in my life,” said Yasser Al-Mishal, the president of the Saudi Football Federation.

“Really, it’s hard to express my feelings. I thank God that I could visit Al-Aqsa mosque and pray inside the mosque.”

Saudi Football Federation chief Yasser Almisehal (centre) and members of the Saudi football delegation visit the Noble Sanctuary, a compound that houses the Golden Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City of Jerusalem on Oct 14, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

The Dome of the Rock is built where the Prophet Mohammad is said to have ascended to heaven and it encompasses the Foundation Stone, a rock holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians. Jordan has custodianship of the holy sites.

The area is one of the most sensitive sites in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is revered by Jews as Temple Mount, the site of two biblical Jewish temples, and is situated in a part of Jerusalem captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move that has not been recognised internationally.

The Saudi players are due to face the Palestinian national team in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday for a World Cup Asian second-round qualifying match. Saudi Arabia lead Group D from Singapore on goal difference, with both sides on four points.

-REUTERS