Illegal excavations continue

Monday, February 05, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Excavators have continued digging through a tunnel under Jerusalem's City of David for months without a permit from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), as required by law.

Archeologists Professor Gabi Reich and Eli Shukrun have continued digging in the City of David, on the eastern slopes of Jerusalem, for an additional 100 meters (328 feet), violating their permit.

They continued digging following the discovery of a Roman road, believed to be part of Jerusalem’s main street. Elad, an association working to place Jews in East Jerusalem, is financing the project.

Late last year, the archaeologists showed senior government officials a plan to continue tunneling beneath the Arab East Jerusalem town of Silwan to the Old City's Dung Gate, some 600 meters away, and perhaps even as far as the wall around the Temple Mount.

Palestinians say this violates the sanctity of the Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock.

“We are facing a dangerous action. Jerusalem's Moslem and Christian holy sites are dear to all Palestinians,” said Hamas’ exiled chief Khaled Mashaal. “Israel is trying to take advantage of the Palestinian internal conflict to commit its crimes.”

The Aqsa Mosque is Islam's third holiest shrine and has been a point for sparking for Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past.

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