Stones ‘falling’ from J’lem’s Buraq Wall prompt concern

By Abdul Raouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority says it is looking into reports that stones are “falling” from the Al-Buraq Wall (known to Jews as the “Western Wall”), the western portion of East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We have seen video footage that appears to show a stone falling from the wall,” an authority official told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

“Our engineers and specialists are now looking into it,” the official added, speaking anonymously as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He went on to say that the falling stone was likely attributable to “excavation works in the area”.

The Religious Endowments Authority is responsible for overseeing and maintaining all Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, including the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex of which the Al-Buraq Wall is a central feature.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

Some extremist Jewish groups have openly called for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque so that a "Jewish temple" might be built in its place.