JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia
The world's largest Islamic grouping has strongly condemned the opening of an Israeli tunnel south of East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Israeli officials opened the tunnel Sunday under the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, with the attendance of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the tunnel opening "aims at changing the historical and legal status of the city of Jerusalem".
"These actions are in violation of international law and relevant resolutions of international legitimacy," the Jeddah-based organization said.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
In a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s “eternal and undivided” capital.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site after Makkah and Medina. Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount", claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.