Israeli authorities halt construction work at Al-Aqsa

By Kaamil Ahmed

JERUSALEM (AA) – Construction work meant to accommodate hundreds of thousands of Muslims who are expected to visit Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan has been halted, Israeli authorities announced Tuesday.

The Times of Israel reported that Jerusalem’s municipal authorities had ordered construction work stopped after the Israeli Antiquities Authority complained that it was being carried out inside a “historical” building without planning permits.

The Jordan-administered Waqf (religious endowments) authority had been building new public toilets to accommodate Palestinian Muslims from the occupied West Bank and Israel — along with foreign Muslims — who are expected to visit the site in large numbers during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which this year will begin on June 5.

Building and renovation work inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews, is often the source of disputes between the Waqf and the Israeli authorities.