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The New Arab

Israel arrests Islamic Movement head over alleged terror involvement

Sheikh Raed Salah [C] was released from prison in January 2017 [AFP]

Date of publication: 15 August, 2017

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Family of banned northern Palestinian-Israeli movement Islamic Movement branch say his latest arrest is part of a sustained campaign of personal persecution by Israel.

Israeli police arrested the Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of an Islam advocacy group on Tuesday, on suspicion of incitement to violence, terrorism, and illegal organisational activity.

Security forces also raided the Islamic Movement leader's home and confiscated two computers, accusing the head of the the now-banned northern branch of incitement.

Following Salah's arrest in the morning, a court hearing was scheduled for the same day as part of an attempt by authorities to extend his detention. Salah had recently served a nine-month prison term for incitement, which ended in January.

The cleric's arrest was backed by Israeli lawmakers, some of whom accused Salah of being possibly involved in acts of terror.

Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant told Israel Radio that he believed there was a link between Salah and the killing of two Israeli soldiers outside Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque in July.

"It is no coincidence that they came from Umm al-Fahm, where Sheikh Raed Salah operates. We must work to ensure that he is behind bars," Galant said.

Galant went then went as far as to say that Palestinian lawmakers from the Balad Party should be removed from the Knesset.

"There is no real difference between Salah and Hanin Zoabi, Basel Ghattas or Jamal Zahalka of the Joint List," he said. "They should not be allowed to have a platform in the Knesset to harm Israel."

Israel banned the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Movement's northern branch in 2015. Membership of the group was made a criminal offence and most of its insitutions were shut down.

Members of Salah's family told Haaretz that his latest arrest is part of a deliberate campaign of personal persecution that Israel has waged against him.

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