Israel arrests Al-Aqsa preacher as far-right rabbi storms mosque
Israeli forces on Wednesday morning arrested Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the current preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli police and intelligence officers surrounded Sabri’s house and ordered him to accompany them, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.
“The Israelis did not give any reason for his arrest,” one of Sabri’s relatives, who declined to be named for security reasons, told Anadolu.
Eighty-two-year-old Sabri, who lives in the Al-Suwannah area of East Jerusalem, has been arrested by Israeli forces several times in the past.
The Muslim cleric’s wife, identified only as Umm Ammar, told the Arabic news website Arabi 21 that the arrest happened at 10 am and that Sabri was taken to the Russian Compound prison in West Jerusalem.
“The occupation forces did not give a reason for the arrest of the sheikh, and arrived while he was preparing a sermon for Friday prayers in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Umm Ammar added.
On Wednesday, dozens of Israeli extremists, including far-right Rabbi Yehuda Glick, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque under Israeli police protection, the Jerusalem Department of Islamic Religious Endowments said.
Israeli extremists believe that the mosque should be demolished and replaced by the Jewish Third Temple.
Israeli forces also arrested four Palestinians on Wednesday around the area of Bethlehem, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.