U.N. asks Israel halt excavation near Al-Aqsa

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PARIS -- The United Nations wants Israel to stop work on access to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City and consult with Muslim religious authorities.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said Wednesday while Israeli archaeological work for an access pathway in Jerusalem's Old City does not threaten the Al-Aqsa Mosque and complies with professional standards, an expert's report said it would like I excavations stopped for meetings on a final plan with the Muslim authorities and other parties concerned.

The report, drafted by a technical mission sent by UNESCO amid international concerns over the excavation, said Israel "should be asked to stop immediately" since work already undertaken was deemed sufficient to assess structural conditions for the pathway to the Mughrabi Gate after a partial collapse in 2004 due to heavy rain and snow.

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