Thousands of Iranian soldiers
stage mock siege of Temple Mount

By Daniel J. Roth | Jerusalem Post | November 21, 2015

Constructing a plastic replica of the al-Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, Iranian media reports tens of thousands of soldiers staged exercises dubbed "Towards the Holy City."

Plastic replica of the Dome of the Rock (Photo by: FARS)

Thousands of Iranian paramilitary forces participated in mock drills and exercises simulating the capture of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Iran's semi-official Farsnews agency reported Friday.

Thousands of Basij soldiers stage mock seige of Temple Mount in Iran (Photo by: FARS)

The Fars report added that the drills involved over 120 Basij battalions, in which fighter-jets bombed targets in the desert and dozens of gun-wielding squadrons representing IDF soldiers guarding the shrine replica.

Fars quoted one Basij commander as saying the drills were organized "to exercise preparedness to fight against possible threats in the region.

Thousands of Basij soldiers stage mock seige of Temple Mount in Iran (Photo by: FARS)

Basij fighters are a volunteer arm of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and have been arriving in Syria to reinforce Syrian government troops in an offensive in the contested northern city of Aleppo and other insurgent-held areas.

Last month, Iran held a public funeral for one Basij senior paramilitary fighter after he was fatally wounded in battle in northern Syria.

Thousands of Basij soldiers stage mock seige of Temple Mount in Iran (Photo by: FARS)

Nader Hamid died in a Syrian hospital last week of gunshot wounds sustained in a gun battle, Iranian agencies reported.

Thousands of Basij soldiers stage mock seige of Temple Mount in Iran (Photo by: FARS)

Iran says it has military advisers and volunteers in Syria but denies having a conventional force on the ground and says it is supporting the Syrian army against Islamic State insurgents. Russia, which is carrying out air strikes with Syrian-based jets, says the same.