UPDATE 2-Arab states, Turkey condemn Israeli action in Jerusalem, Gaza

(Updates with Arab League meeting; Egyptian, OIC statements)

CAIRO, May 11 (Reuters) - The head of the Arab League condemned on Tuesday deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip as "indiscriminate and irresponsible" and said Israel had provoked an earlier increase in violence by its actions in Jerusalem.

The violence began with confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces at al-Aqsa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem's walled Old City on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Israel launched air strikes on Gaza after Palestinian militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem.

"Israeli violations in Jerusalem, and the government's tolerance of Jewish extremists hostile to Palestinians and Arabs, is what led to the ignition of the situation in this dangerous way," Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement.

The attacks in Gaza were a "miserable show of force at the expense of children's blood," he said, adding that "Israeli provocations" were an affront to Muslims on the eve of the Eid holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Arab League foreign ministers held a virtual emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.

The meeting would reaffirm the centrality of the Palestinian issue for Arab states and solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem, a statement said.

In light of events in Jerusalem, Egypt declared its "total rejection and condemnation of these oppressive Israeli practices," Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told the League.

The head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which held an emergency meeting in Jeddah, "praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people stationed in the occupied city of Jerusalem and their response to the Israeli attacks on the holy sites," Saudi state agency SPA reported.

Turkey also condemned the Israeli air strikes.

"The Israeli government must finally understand that it will not be able to suppress the Palestinian people's legitimate rights and demands by using indiscriminate and disproportionate power," the Turkish foreign ministry said.

The Gaza health ministry said at least 28 Palestinians, including 10 children, had been killed. Israel disputed that account, saying it had killed at least 20 Hamas fighters and that a third of the hundreds of rockets launched by militants had fallen short, causing Palestinian civilian casualties. (Reporting by Nadeen Ebrahim, Mohamed Zaki, Aziz El Yaakoubi and Daren Butler; Writing by Nadine Awadalla and Aidan Lewis; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Timothy Heritage)

05/11/2021 15:42

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