Israel begins excavations near Al Aqsa Mosque


Ramallah : Israel’s Antiquities Authority has begun excavations to construct an underground passage near Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. This was revealed here yesterday by Al Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage. The excavation is financed by Elad, a religious movement which calls for Jewish settlement and development in Silwan. Al Aqsa Foundation said in a statement issued yesterday that the goal of this excavation “is the collapse of mosques and mainly Al-Aqsa to create a Jewish temple there.”

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The foundation said that its field teams toured the Silwan neighborhood and observed the excavations which are carried out only fifty meters away from the southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and only a few meters away from the walls of the Old City. It added that the excavations are being carried out to create a tunnel under Ein Silwan mosque to link it with a net of tunnels in the area and those under Al Aqsa Mosque. The foundation has warned that the use of huge machines pose danger to the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and also endangers the houses of the residents in Silwan.

The Israeli authorities are conducting these excavations in order to construct trade and tourism facilities, and that some of these facilities start underground, said the foundation. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Sheikh Mohammed Hussein has criticized the Israeli move saying that “building a tunnel near Al-Aqsa Mosque is a provocation of Muslims emotions.” Hussein urged Islamic states to take action to stop Israeli excavations in the area.