The Grand Mufti of al-Quds Sheikh Muhammad Hussein has warned against the ongoing Israeli excavations at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, saying they could lead to the collapse of the holy site and the buildings adjacent to it.
In a statement released on Monday, the senior cleric said the excavation work carried out by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Elad settlement group in the vicinity and under the foundations of al-Aqsa Mosque poses a serious threat to the mosque compound, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported.
He further noted that the IAA and Elad group are removing soil, opening holes adjacent to the southern wall of al-Aqsa, and clearing the paths under it which would lead to the weakening of the mosque's foundations and eventually its collapse.
The Grand Mufti of al-Quds added that these excavations are continuing and have not stopped, and are recently increased to include multiple places at the same time, which heralds an imminent danger to al-Aqsa and the buildings adjacent to it.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the cleric condemned the Tel Aviv regime's plans to register ownership of property in the vicinity of the Old City of al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque in the name of extremist Israeli settlers, warning of the danger of this measure targeting real estate that the Israeli occupation authorities seek to take control over in al-Quds.
He further called for an immediate end to the excavations around and below al-Aqsa Mosque, and to restrain Israel from its blatant measures practiced against the compound in particular and the holy city in general.
The cleric also said the Israeli authorities should be held responsible for the consequences of these acts that exceeded all limits in provoking the feelings of Muslims all over the world.
The latest development comes as the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has already called for an immediate halt to Israeli excavations at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
It has also warned the apartheid regime of full responsibility for “repercussions of such serious violations,” while seeking the intervention of global organizations.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flash point. Under a 1967 deal between Israel and Jordan, the compound’s custodian, non-Muslim worship is prohibited at the site. In defiance of the agreement, Israel allows settlers to enter the site and carry out religious rituals.
Recently, there has been an escalation of atrocities by the Israeli regime against Palestinian worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Outraged by the Israeli barbarity, Palestinian resistance groups have intensified their operations throughout the occupied territories.
The clashes in al-Quds had sparked fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11-day war in May last year between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip, including Hamas, during which the at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed.