Israel admits to Aqsa Mosque excavations for first time

[ 25/01/2011 – 05:51 PM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israel confessed for the first time ever on Tuesday to conducting excavation works near the Aqsa Mosque after years of denial. Security officials are concerned clashes could erupt.

The Antiquities Authority in an official report said Prof. Ronny Reich and Eli Shokron led excavations to clear the sewage system of ancient Jerusalem, a tunnel that happens to be near the Islamic holy sites, the Israeli journal Maariv said.

It is the first time Israeli authorities admit to digging there.

Known Jerusalem activist Sheikh Raed Salah in past years accused Israel of secret excavations there, warning they would cause damage to the mosque.

The Antiquities Authority claim the underground tunnel was built in the era of the “second temple”

Gaza’s Jerusalem Committee refuted the claims that no digging took place under mosques, saying Israel admitted to digging over the course of seven years and targeted the many mosques and Islamic sites in the area.

The board, which is chaired by the minister of religious affairs Talib Abu Sha’ar, said the move was a provocation to the feelings of Muslims everywhere.

Israeli security officials expressed concerns an outbreak of clashes would erupt with the Palestinians.

“We are fully ready to cope with any escalation that may affect the security situation in Jerusalem, after excavations under the main street linking the wailing wall to the north and Silwan to the south that will anger in the Palestinian sector,” a security official said.

Police have announced possibility of alert in the area.

Israel admits to Aqsa Mosque excavations for first time.

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