The United States wants clarification from Israel on its construction work near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. “We are aware of these reports, and understand the excavations are related to the construction of a new walkway from the Western Wall Plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem to the site of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif,” said a statement issued Tuesday evening by the State Department. “We are seeking clarification from the government of Israel. As always, we urge all parties to exercise great care when deciding whether and how to engage in any activity near sensitive religious sites.” Islamic leaders have condemned the digging, which is taking place away from the site and which Israel notes does not threaten its integrity. The upper part of the site is the Temple Mount, the holiest spot in Judaism, which now houses two mosques; the lower part is the Western Wall. Israel wants to repair a stairway connecting the upper and lower parts.