Israel’s decision to close a footbridge leading to the holy Al-Aqsa mosque compound in al-Quds (East Jerusalem) has sparked Palestinian anger.
Mughrabi Bridge, a wooden access ramp to Al-Aqsa mosque, was shut down on Monday despite strong opposition from Palestinians.
The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has strongly condemned the closure, describing it as a declaration of war on Muslim holy sites in al-Quds. The Palestinian Authority has also condemned unilateral decision. The Mughrabi Bridge is the only access for non-Muslims to enter the site.
"This is a serious step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression again[st] the Al-Aqsa mosque. This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in al-Quds," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said.
Israeli authorities claim that the wooden access ramp, which leads from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount, was closed over public safety concerns. Tel Aviv is reportedly planning to demolish the structure.
The walkway, however, will be open to Israeli security forces.
Muslim leaders have repeatedly warned that the demolition could have a destabilizing effect on the mosque compound, they have also accuses Israel of failing to coordinate the renovation with the Waqf, which oversees Islamic heritage sites.
Tel Aviv, which has been carrying out excavation projects near the al-Aqsa Mosque since 2007, is also accused of trying to damage the site’s foundation and Judaize its perimeter.