Stone from Jerusalem's Western Wall crashes into prayer area

Знак свыше из Стены Плача выпал камень весом 100

Footage of a large boulder crashing onto a prayer platform at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and landing only a few meters away from a worshiper has emerged online.

"I thank the Almighty for preventing a major disaster", Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the administrator of the Western Wall, said.

One of Islam's holiest sites, the Noble Sanctuary, where al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock stand, lies above.

Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, said they could not rule out more stones falling from the walls.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said it's "a great miracle" that the 100-kilogram (220-pound) stone landed near a worshipper and did not harm her.

Знак свыше из Стены Плача выпал камень весом 100
Deputy Jerusalem mayor: Fallen Western Wall stone a message to Reform Jews

Following the stone's fall from one of the original Herodian rows of the Western Wall, a team of IAA experts, including archaeologists, engineers and conservationists, began careful examination of the affected area.

IAA officials said several possibilities may have contributed to the rock falling, adding that the Western Wall is regularly monitored to ensure it is safe for the thousands who pray at the site. If other stones are found to be in danger of falling, the section could be closed longer as each stone is secured.

The breakage comes just a day after the Western Wall plaza was filled with worshippers marking Tisha B'Av-a day of fasting and mourning the destruction of the two holy Jewish temples at the site.

Mr Barkat visited the scene - a section where men and women are allowed to pray together - with the city engineer and safety officials, who declared the spot risky and closed it to the public pending further inspection.

Daniella Goldberg, 79, was praying in the "egalitarian" area at the southern end of the Western Wall, near Robinson's Arch, designated by the High Court in 2000. It is built near piles of boulders believed to date to the time of the Second Temple.

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