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Israel to webcast al-Aqsa mosque excavations

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Israel's administration press-service has said that webcams are being installed at the holy site of the Al Aqsa Mosque-Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem, to enable people to watch excavations at the site over the Internet.

Users will be able to watch live the archaeological process and the following construction works from February 15.

Excavations at the site were halted on Sunday after protests by Muslims, who feared that the digging and the construction of a new pedestrian bridge in the area can have a negative impact on the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Qubbat as-Sakhra.

Last week Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas declared the construction and blockade as "hostile measures" against Muslims. Israeli authorities say that these worries are groundless. They also accuse "irresponsible elements" of manipulating Muslim sentiment in order to gain political mileage.

The Internet broadcast is to be set at the official website of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the department responsible for archaeological research within the country. Currently the site includes a three-minute video that explains in English the essence of the project in interpretation of the main archaeologist of Israel – Dr. Gideon Avni, the director of the Excavations and Surveys Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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