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Digging on Temple Mount 'to Erase Traces of Jewish Altar'

Jewish activists paid an Arab to take these photos of illegal digging on the site of the Jewish Temple Altar.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/7/2011, 6:26 PM / Last Update: 2/7/2011, 6:48 PM

courtesy of Our Temple Mount

Muslim religious authorities are concluding a clandestine eight-month dig on the Temple Mount that is intended to erase traces of the Jewish Temple's Altar, Temple activists charge.

The digs have been taking place under the Dome of the Chain, believed to have been built over 1300 years ago. For eight months, the dome - which has a diameter of 14 meters - has been surrounded by a metal fence and black cloth, which hide whatever activity has been going on there from outside inspection. The Muslim Waqf religious authority has claimed the activity is simply a refurbishing of the structure, but refuses adamantly to let Jews or tourists near.
 
Jewish activists made various attempts to enter the Dome, but met with no success. In the end, the Our Temple Mount news outlet found an Arab who was willing to take photos inside the compound in return for a handsome fee (see below). The man said that it appears the Waqf has already completed its digs and is now covering the dig with dirt.
 
Our Temple Mount notes that according to Jewish tradition, the place where the Dome of the Chain is located is the spot upon which the sacrificial Altar stood in Temple times. Temple activists said that the Muslim digs are intended to erase the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. 
 
Photos show the work at different stages: