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Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount during the festival of Eid Al-Adha, October 26, 2012 (photo credit: Sleiman Khader/Flash90)

A Jordanian minister accused Israel on Wednesday of planning to partition the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount plaza surrounding it in order to erect the third Temple.

Islamic Endowments Minister Abdul Salam Abadi told a visiting clerical delegation from Australia that he received instructions from the “Hashemite leadership” to safeguard the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem, Jordanian media reported.

Abadi said Israel was planning to divide the mosque from its courtyards with a 144-dunam structure.

Jordan, which extended its sovereignty to East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1950, continues to administer the Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount. Abadi told the Australian delegation that his ministry employs 600 civil servants in Jerusalem and oversees 40 Jerusalem schools.

According to the independent Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, Abadi stressed the need to support the residents of Jerusalem “in their steadfastness in the face of the repeated Israeli attacks on the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.”

He did not expand on what he meant.

Jordan and Israel signed a peace agreement in 1994.

Jews are banned from praying on the Temple Mount by the Jordanian department of endowments, known as the Waqf, which administers the plaza surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

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