Jordanian weapons cache discovered beneath Western Wall Tunnels

The British-made weapons were found in an old water cistern that once served local Arab residents.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Part of the cache
Part of the cache
Yuli Shwartz of the Antiquities Authority

A Jordanian weapons cache was found on Wednesday in the course of excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority beneath the Western Wall Tunnels. The weapons had been hidden underground inside an old water cistern that was in use during the days of the British Mandate.

The excavation is being conducted in collaboration with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, in advance of the opening of a new walking tour through the Western Walls Tunnels.

Police sappers arrived at the scene to investigate the find. Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel of the Israel Antiquities Authority are leading the excavation, and Dr. Givon related the events of today:

“While we were excavating a water cistern, we were greeted with a surprise – around ten containers full of Bren guns and components for British Lee-Enfield rifles. Usually, what we find during our excavations are items dating back around a thousand or even a few thousand years ago, but this time, our find dates back just 53 years,” Dr. Givon said.

“The find appears to be a weapons stockpile, the items having been concealed there by soldiers from the Jordanian Legion that were used or were to be used during the Six-Day War, during which the IDF liberated the Old City,” he added. “The water cistern that we excavated once served the residents of the Mughrabi Quarter which was located in the area where the Kotel Plaza now is,” he noted.

Assaf Peretz of the Antiquities Authority who identified the weapons related that, “These are weapons that were manufactured in 1956 in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom, by the Greenwood and Batley company, and reached the hands of the Jordanian Legion. The discovery of this cache of weapons fits in with the two other similar finds from around ten years ago in a different water cistern under the Kotel Plaza, during excavations conducted by Dr. Shlomit Wachsler-Bedolach of the Antiquities Authority.”

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation stated: “We are delighted at this discovery at the Western Wall, one that adds to our knowledge of the history of the Six-Day War. The find also heightens the importance of the liberation of the Western Wall for the entire Jewish People.”

Around a month ago, the Antiquities Authority along with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation published its findings of an intriguing underground system hewn out of rock dating back to the Second Temple period. It was found at the foot of an impressive communal structure dating back 1400 years.