How Did a Turkish Hand Grenade Get Into an Ancient Jerusalem Wall?

A 100-year-old Turkish hand grenade was recently discovered during conservation work being conducted near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City.

Haaretz Service
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A 100-year-old Turkish hand grenade was recently discovered during conservation work being conducted near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.

The 100-year-old Turkish grenade found inside a Jerusalem wall on July 5, 2010Credit: Conservation Department, Israel Antiquities Authority

A conservation team from the authority, under the direction of conservator Fuad Abu Taa, on Monday was dismantling fragments of crushed stone that needed to be replaced in the city wall, when they found a fist-size chunk of metal in the wall's core.

The conservationists called police sappers to the scene, thinking the object was suspicious due to its location and metallic shape. After examining it, experts confirmed it was a grenade dating to the Ottoman period and that it contained c. 200-300 grams of explosives. The sappers removed the grenade and carried out a controlled detonation.

The stone was partially crushed and someone probably chose it as a place to hide the hand grenade," said Yoram Saad of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The conservationists' work was part of the Jerusalem City Walls Project, an extensive project meant to conserve and rehabilitate the Old City walls, which have suffered from years of neglect and erosion.

The section of the city wall adjacent to Damascus Gate, where the grenade was found, is currently being treated in a joint effort by the Prime Ministers Office, the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality.

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