Israel Blamed for Collapse on Temple Mount

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JERUSALEM, Israel --The Muslim al-Aksa Foundation and Cultural Heritage Organization blamed Israel for the collapse of an area near the Bab as Silsila on the western side of the al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The organization accused Israel of "paving the way for demolishing the al-Aksa Mosque by building new settlements and digging dozens of tunnels," Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.

"The collapse has caused a deep hole there," eyewitness Cum'a Usayle told the agency. "It is dangerous for the al-Aksa Mosque. It poses danger especially for children and women."

Usayle said it is the second collapse in the area within the past five years.

According to the report, Israel had taken no security precautions around the area and has yet to issue a statement about the incident.

Israel is responsible for security arrangements on the Temple Mount, while the Wakf, the Islamic trust, is in charge of day-to-day administrative duties.

Though the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples, Muslims are the only ones permitted to pray at the Temple Mount. Many attend Friday prayers at the shrine known as the Dome of the Rock.

Israeli archaeologists have long complained of the Wakf authorizing the destruction of First and Second Temple-era artifacts there as a way to erase evidence of the Jewish connection to the area.

At the entrance to the Temple Mount, a Wakf posted a sign that reads, "The Al-Aksa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property."

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