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Israeli excavations destroying al-Aqsa Mosque: Palestinian minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows a view of al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem al-Quds

Palestine’s Minster of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yousif Ideis has warned that Israel is attempting to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

In a statement released on Sunday, Ideis stressed that Israel was trying to destroy the mosque via the daily excavations it carries out under the compound.

He added that the Tel Aviv regime was trying to ignite a religious war in the region with its ongoing attempts to destroy the mosque.

The statement was released after the Islamic-Christian Committee to Defend Jerusalem and Holy Sites announced that Israeli excavations had resulted in several sinkholes appearing around the compound.

Ideis noted that Israel’s actions were "obvious violations” of resolutions by global bodies, the latest being a UNESCO resolution denouncing Israel’s actions in the occupied territory.

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Israeli authorities frequently issue permits for excavations and archaeological digs in close vicinity of the al-Aqsa compound. Such actions have resulted in the collapse of several Palestinian homes and damage to the mosque and its surrounding buildings.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

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A member of the Israeli police stands guard at the Qalandia checkpoint between East Jerusalem al-Quds and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on December 13, 2016. 

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed tensions ever since Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015. Around 280 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October that year.

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