World

Jordan king in rare West Bank trip seen as message to Israel

Jordan's king has flown by helicopter to the West Bank — a rare visit seen as a signal to Israel that he is closing ranks with the Palestinians on key issues, such as a contested Jerusalem shrine.

Abdullah II was meeting on Monday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The monarch's visit comes amid growing Jordanian-Israeli tensions over the Jerusalem shrine, the third holiest site of Islam and the most sacred one in Judaism.

The crisis erupted when Israel installed metal detectors at the site last month, after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there. The security measures triggered Muslim protests, and Israel eventually removed the devices.

Abdullah's role as Muslim custodian of the shrine is a key component of his legitimacy.

Abbas suspended security ties with Israel over the crisis.