By Abdel Raouf Arnaout
Israeli construction crews on Wednesday moved a large block of stone that fell from the Al-Buraq Wall earlier this week to a nearby area in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, according to the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
Known to Jews as the “Western Wall”, the Al-Buraq Wall is the western portion of East Jerusalem’s iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which for Muslims represents the world’s third holiest site.
In a statement, the Antiquities Authority said it would look into whether the stone -- which reportedly fell from the wall earlier this week, raising concerns for the wall’s structural integrity -- “can be returned to its original place”.
Using a large crane, the authority has since transferred the fallen block of stone to a nearby area close to the wall.
In its statement, the authority offered no reason or speculation as to why the stone may have fallen.
Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority, meanwhile, has said it is investigating the incident.
“Our engineers and specialists are looking into it now,” an authority official told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
The official, preferring anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media, went on to suggest that the block of stone may have fallen as a result of “excavation works” in the area.
The Religious Endowments Authority is responsible for overseeing and maintaining all of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina.
Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Some extremist Jewish groups openly call for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque so that a "Jewish temple" might be built in its place.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.