Webcams broadcast Israeli dig

Israel has installed Internet cameras near an archaeological excavation close to a Jerusalem shrine that had sparked Muslim protests, in a bid to show the work does not harm the holy site, officials said on Thursday. Streaming video of several angles of the dig site were seen on Israel's Antiquities Authority's website. "The Antiquities Authority invites the public in the country and in the world to monitor the excavations up close and to see what is being done on the ground at any given time," the group's spokeswoman, Osnat Goaz, said in a statement. The dig is meant to clear the way for the construction of a walkway to the complex known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount. Officials say the archaeological work is likely to take at least eight months to complete. The excavations near the compound began last week and touched off protests and stone-throwing by Palestinians and raised Muslim fears al-Aqsa mosque at the compound would be harmed. Israel denies any harm would come to the mosque or the Dome of the Rock that stand on the site of two destroyed biblical Jewish Temples. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during a visit to Ankara on Thursday that he had invited Turkish authorities to visit the dig. Goaz said the excavations are taking place Sunday to Thursday, from 0430 to 1230 GMT. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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