TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Thousands of paramilitary forces from the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard have held a war game simulating the capture of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque from Israeli control.
Iran’s state media reported Saturday that the forces stormed and “liberated” a replica of the mosque in the exercise. They say that 120 brigades from the Basij, the paramilitary unit of the Guard, participated in Friday’s exercise outside the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
The symbolic operations were backed up by Guard helicopters, drones and Tucano planes that bombed hypothetical enemy positions before ground troops captured the replica of the mosque set up at the top of a mountain.
The hilltop compound, which is holy to Jews and Muslims, has been at the heart of weeks of unrest between Israel and the Palestinians. Muslims call the spot the Noble Sanctuary, and the mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Jews revere the spot as the Temple Mount — home to the biblical Temples and the holiest site in Judaism.
Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, frequently expresses solidarity with the Palestinians and holds an annual “Jerusalem Day” each year on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan. Iran does not recognize Israel, has called for its destruction and supports anti-Israel militants across the Middle East.
Full article: Iran Guard simulates capture of Al Aqsa Mosque (MyWay News)