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Engineer says Temple Mount bridge to close

On the right, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall (R-bottom). UPI/Gali Tibbon/Pool
On the right, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall (R-bottom). UPI/Gali Tibbon/Pool | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Jerusalem's city engineer Thursday ordered the immediate closure of the Mughrabi Bridge leading to Temple Mount, saying it's unsafe and dangerous.

In a letter to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Shlomo Eshkol ordered the wooden bridge linking the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount closed immediately, Israel Radio said Thursday.

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The bridge is the only access to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims seeking to visit the site and is also used by security forces in the event of violent incidents, the report said.

Eshkol said until a new bridge is built, only a small number of security personnel will be permitted to use the bridge -- and only after consulting with him, the report said.

The decision comes just weeks after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to postpone constructing a new bridge, fearing the move would lead to new tensions with Jordan, Egypt and other countries in the Middle East, Israel Radio said.

Jordan, which is responsible for Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has objected to the planned construction, warning such steps will ignite protests throughout the Middle East.

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The current bridge was built as a temporary solution after a previous structure collapsed in 2004.

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