Iran Guard drill simulates capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque near Qom

Iran Guard drill simulates capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque near Qom
Updated 22 November 2015

Iran Guard drill simulates capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque near Qom

Iran Guard drill simulates capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque near Qom

TEHRAN: 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.
In a common mistake, the Guard set up a replica of the gold-topped Dome of the Rock instead of the nearby mosque. Official photos showed one of the troops going to the top of the dome and waving an Iranian flag and a red-colored flag, a symbol of martyrdom.
The hilltop compound, which is holy to Muslims and Jews, has been at the heart of weeks of unrest between Israel and the Palestinians.
The current round of fighting was sparked in part by rumors that Israel was plotting to take over the site — a charge that Israel vehemently denies. Clashes outside the mosque erupted in September and quickly spread across Israel and into the West Bank and Gaza Strip.