Islamic Jihad leader, Ibrahim an-Najjar slammed the ongoing excavations Israel is carrying out under the Mughrabi Gate ramp near the Western Wall (Al-Buraq Wall) and the Aqsa Mosque Noble Sanctuary, (Haram ash-Sharif) in the old city of Jerusalem.

An-Najjar's comments came during a commemoration marking the 29 anniversary of burning the Aqsa Mosque, on August 21, 1969.

An Australian Christian extremist hoping to hurry the coming of the messiah was actually responsible for the arson in the mosque in 1969, but widespread fears that Israel would destroy the area after taking over East Jerusalem in 1967 trumped the truth.

Since Israel had razed the Mughrabi Quarter – an 800 year old neighbourhood that stood where the Western Wall compound now is – when they took control over the area in 1967, Palestinians had ample grounds for mistrust as to how the holy area would be treated.

When the mosque was burned two years later, Israel was held Israel responsible for the attack. An-Nijjar told the Ma'an News Agency on Saturday morning that current excavations near the Western Wall and beneath the Noble Sanctuary compound could crack the walls that hold up the Muslim joly sites.

An-Najjar also called on Palestinian resistance factions to make every possible effort to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, since Israel is taking advantage of factional disagreements to continue their excavations under the area.