JERUSALEM — Israeli excavations in Jerusalem are posing an imminent threat to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and residents of the holy city, Anadolu Agency reported, citing Palestinian experts.
“The Israel excavations beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound have been in full swing in the past 60 years.The diggings, however, have gone under the foundations of the compound in the past 15 years,” archaeology professor Jamal Amro told Anadolu Agency.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
In a move never recognised by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s “eternal and undivided” capital.
“Since 1967, Israel has carried out more than 100 excavations under the ancient city allegedly for rainwater drainage,” Amro added.
He said Israel is currently carrying out 22 diggings in Jerusalem, four of which are going under Al-Buraq (western) wall and five under the Silwan neighbourhood.
According to Amro, the depth of the Israeli excavations in this area reaches more than 20 meters underground.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site after Makkah and Medina. Jews refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.