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Pope takes off his shoes to enter Dome of the Rock at start of final day of Mideast pilgrimage

Pope Francis has entered the Dome of the Rock, the iconic shrine located at the third-holiest spot in Islam, on the third and final day of his Mideast pilgrimage.

Francis took off his shoes on Monday to step into the gold-topped dome, which enshrines the rock where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.

The mosque complex, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is at the heart of the territorial and religious disputes between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Francis was meeting with the grand mufti of Jerusalem before going to pray at the Western Wall, the only remains of the biblical Second Temple and the holiest place where Jews can pray.