JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Antiquities Authority completed the excavation of an ancient tunnel that runs from the City of David in eastern Jerusalem to near the Temple Mount.
Officials fear Palestinians may riot, believing that the project is an attempt to damage the Al Aksa Mosque.
The road in the tunnel was used by travelers making pilgrimages to Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. It was discovered during excavations on a water channel used for drainage during the Second Temple period.
Work on the tunnel took seven years; it was delayed for one year after the Supreme Court ordered work halted while it considered a petition by residents of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, who claimed the dig was damaging their homes. The stop-work order was lifted in September 2009.
The City of David archeological site is located in Silwan and is run by Elad, a settler organization which seeks to expand Jewish presence in all of Jerusalem.
No opening has been made on the tunnel near the Temple Mount, though one is planned, Haaretz reported. The tunnel does not run under the Temple Mount.
Previous archeological projects have led to violence by Palestinians.