Officials at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem have raised deep concerns over the appearance of new cracking in the Al-Aqsa mosque floor due to Israeli excavation work at the holy site which has caused cracks and other damage to the building’s structure, on Saturday, June 25th.
Azzam Al-Khatib, director-general of the city’s Islamic Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs department, has warned that the mosque could be in danger of collapse if the digging continued at its current pace.
The Israelis have been carrying out excavations beneath Islam’s third-holiest site for a number of weeks which officials expressed has led to cracks appearing and stones dislodging from walls and ceilings.
A statement sent to Anadolu Agency stated that the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Elad settlement association have been conducting “suspicious and mysterious excavations” in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially from the southern and western sides adjacent to the external foundation of the mosque, in the areas of the Al-Buraq Wall and the Umayyad palaces.
Al-Khatib said: “There are dangerous and unknown excavations, and no one knows what they are and what their goals are. We see the removal of large quantities of soil and hear the noises of digging equipment and the breaking of stones.
“The vibrations led to the fall of several stones from the mosque’s ceilings in the southern prayer halls.”
The Israeli occupation government does not allow any reparations to be done to the holly site as it denies access to Palestinians to approach the area.
“I asked the Israeli police to allow specialized engineers and technicians from our department to find out what is going on and what is happening, and for a week we have been talking to the Israeli police about these excavations, which are taking place day and night, and they just ignore our request,” Al-Khatib added.
He noted that similar activities had taken place in the past– ever since the take Israeli occupation of land in the six-day war in 1967–but digging work had been stepped up in recent weeks.
He said: “We are concerned about the tunnels being dug that may lead to the collapse of the Al-Aqsa. So, we informed the Jordanian Royal Court, the Jordanian Ministry of the Islamic Awqaf, the Jordanian ambassador, and most importantly, we appealed to (Jordan’s) King Abdullah, custodian of the holy sites, to intervene in this issue.
The Islamic Awqaf does not want friction but is deeply concerned about ambushes for Al-Aqsa and stability in the region.
“I asked the Israeli police to allow us to repair the wall from which stones came off, and which might be in danger of collapsing, but they refused.”
The world is kept in the dark in relation to what’s going on in Al-Aqsa to which Al-Khatib expressed deep concern, “Neither the Waqf, nor UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) knows what is happening. We are entrusted with Al-Aqsa and carrying out our mission. What is happening is a dangerous matter that worries and frightens us.”
that a committee of engineers and experts affiliated with the department had been set up to look into what was happening and report back to officials, according to Specialized sources in the Islamic Awqaf
The cracks appeared in an odd area of Al-Aqsa, near the Islamic Museum, and the Mughrabi Gate adjacent to the Al-Buraq Wall all the way to the Umayyad palaces area.
The Council of Endowments, Islamic Affairs, and Holy Places, in the city of Jerusalem, said that it is following with “extreme danger” the “excavations” that Israel is conducting in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
observers have monitored continuous crushing, for months, of important archaeological stones, as they are turned into small stones in order to hide their traces, and remove them as worthless ruins that get rid of by excavation workers affiliated with settlement associations.
The council Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Placesworned that the continuous tampering of these religious sites would result in the changing of the arcological features of these sites.
The Islamic resistance movement, Hamas declared, in a statement, last Thursday, May 23: “The continuous excavations carried out by the Zionist occupation authorities in the areas of Al-Buraq Wall and the Umayyad palaces are a direct threat to the foundations and walls of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The Movement added that “The excavations are an attempt to obliterate the features of the Islamic and historical city of Jerusalem,” and warned the occupation and held it fully responsible for the repercussions of these serious violations.”
Hamas called on the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Jordan to “move urgently to stop these malicious colonial schemes, in order to protect Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the pilgrimage of the Holy Prophet and the first Qibla of Muslims.”