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Archaeological mystery solved? Ancient Greek citadel known as the Acra uncovered in Jerusalem

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Workers from the Israeli Antiquity Authorities dig on November 3, 2015 at the excavation site adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City walls, where researchers believe to have found the remains of the ancient Greek stronghold of the Acra (AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon)

Israel’s antiquities body claimed Tuesday to have solved “one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries” by unearthing an ancient Greek citadel — the Acra — buried under a car park.

Archaeologists have puzzled for more than a century over the exact location of the Acra, built by Seleucid Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes (215-164 BC) to control Jerusalem and the ancient Jewish temple there.

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The temple was razed by the Romans in 70 AD, and two Muslim holy sites — the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque were built there centuries later.

The site, known to Muslims as The Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, is sacred to both peoples and today the site of frequent disputes and clashes.

“Researchers with the Israel Antiquities Authority believe they have found the remains of the stronghold… in the Givati parking lot excavations at the City of David,” the authority said.

That was a reference to an archaeological site situated in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan in occupied east Jerusalem.

“The Givati excavation continues to uncover numerous artifacts from more than 10 different ancient cultures from Jerusalem’s history,” the authority said.

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The citadel is mentioned in both the Jewish Book of Maccabees and in the writings of historian Flavius Josephus in the 1st Century AD but its exact location was unknown until now.

Excavators uncovered a section of the citadel’s wall as well as the base of a tower of “impressive dimensions,” the authority said.

“This sensational discovery allows us for the first time to reconstruct the layout of the settlement in the city” as it was more than 2,000 years ago, archaeologists said.

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Lead sling slots, bronze arrowheads and stone projectiles were also discovered at the site.

The fortification’s defences withstood all attempts at conquering it until Jewish leader Simon Maccabees took it in 141 BC after the Greek garrison starved during a lengthy siege.

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Antiochus is remembered in the Jewish tradition as the villain of the Hanukkah holiday who sought to ban Jewish religious rites, sparking the Maccabean revolt.


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Vehicles being used as weapons against protesters is ‘the new normal in 2020’: CNN

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CNN's Don Lemon on Friday evening devoted a segment to the rash of incidents in which people have driven through Black Lives Matter protesters in the same manner that killed Heather Heyer at the fatal 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Vehicles used as weapons," Don Lemon began. "You heard me right, vehicles are being used as weapons against Americans taking to the streets in Black Lives Matter protests in cities across this country."

CNN correspondent Evan McMorris-Santoro reported shocking scenes captured on camera of vehicles running down protesters are "common now."

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Trump to ignore Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish and appoint Amy Coney Berman: reports

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President Donald Trump intends to name Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, US media reported Friday, who if confirmed would cement a solid conservative majority on the high court.

The president said this week he will announce his pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday, and various media outlets said it would be the 48-year-old conservative judge.

Citing sources close to the process, various media outlets, including The New York Times and CNN, said Trump would nominate Barrett.

If she is confirmed the court would shift to a 6-3 conservative majority.

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2020 Election

Trump tells supporters he won’t be ‘stupid’ enough for peaceful transition of power if he loses

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President Donald Trump continued to spread debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election during a Friday night campaign rally in Virginia.

Trump argued that it was impossible for him to lose the election, thus concluding he would be "stupid" to hand over power peacefully should he lose.

"We not gonna lose this, except if they cheat," Trump falsely claimed about the 2020 campaign, where he trails Joe Biden in national and battleground polling.

"That's the only way we're gonna lose is if there's, uh, mischief," he argued. "And it will have to be on a big scale."

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