Israel digging new tunnels in Muslim Quarter of J’lem’s Old City

[ 23/08/2011 – 01:53 PM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israel has recently begun digging new tunnels in the depths of Migharat al-Kitan (the Cotton Cave), a quarry in the Old City of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Foundation reported.

One of those tunnels runs south to below the Omari school to the northern wall of the mosque, and the other stretches northwest to the area near Bab a-Sahera, known by Jews as Herod’s Gate, on the Old City’s northern wall.

According to data collected by Al-Aqsa Foundation, Israeli authorities are planning on linking the tunnels with a network of tunnels extending from the city’s Silwan district, which lies south of the mosque and under Al-Aqsa Mosque and its vicinity. When finished, the network is slated to total 1.6 km of tunnel.

The foundation discovered that the tunnels were being excavated during a field tour of the area. It reported that several construction workers were digging at the end and center of Migharat al-Kitan, which Jews have claimed as their own and renamed Zedekiah’s Cave or the Grotto of King Solomon. During the operation, gratings were used to reinforce what was dug up.

According to available data, one of these tunnels runs south towards Al-Aqsa Mosque and even runs under the homes of locals in East Jerusalem’s Old City. It is planned to end at the Jebusite tunnel and can be exited from the northern gate of wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque with another tunnel, conjoining several tunnel systems.

In a statement, Al-Aqsa Foundation said the construction and excavations are aimed at claiming Migharat al-Kitan as Jewish and converting it to a Jewish tourist site using names from the Torah. Just recently, Israel destroyed Islamic features across from the cave.

Israel has been trying to change the features of the holy city to fall in concord with Talmudic accounts, something that conflicts with the historical facts, according to Israeli archaeologist Yitzhak Finkelstein.

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