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Israel detains senior Muslim officials in Jerusalem

February 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Amid strict security measures around the holy city of Jerusalem, the Israeli occupation detained on Wednesday morning two senior Palestinian religious officials and prevented Muslim worshipers from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque which was left empty for Israeli settlers to wander inside.

Palestinian sources said that the Israeli occupations broke into the house of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, 65, in occupied Jerusalem and detained him.

Hussein is the Grand Sheikh of Palestine and the speechmaker at Al-Aqsa Mosque. He was taken to Al-Maskopia investigation centre in the city.

In a telephone call with the Palestinian newspaper based in Jerusalem Al-Quds, Hussein confirmed that he was taken to the investigation centre.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Mustafa Abu-Zahra, the head of the Palestinian committee in charge of taking care of Islamic cemeteries, was locked in his car for a long time and then detained while on his way to the Al-Aqsa Mosque where he works.

Abu-Zahra was also taken to Al-Maskopia investigation centre.

Regarding the storming of the Mosque by settlers, the information officer at the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Heritage and Endowments, Mahmoud Abul-Ata, told the Palestinian news agency Safa that a large number of Israeli occupation forces have been stationed at all gates of the Mosque.

“They prevented Muslim worshipers from entering the mosque while they allowed about 50 Israeli settlers to go inside and wander around the sanctuary yards,” he said.

The settlers, according to Abul-Ata, entered from Al-Maghrebeh Gate and were escorted by a large number of the Israeli occupation police.

This is the second day that Israeli occupation forces have secured group visits for Israeli settlers inside of the sanctuary yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli extremists, including Likud members, called for a storming of the Mosque and for religious rituals to be carried out inside it.

These calls were made as way of proving Israeli sovereignty over the holy sites in the area and to celebrate the 46th ‘unification’ of Jerusalem.

Israelis call the occupation of the eastern part of the holy city in 1967 the ‘unification of Jerusalem’.

Following widespread condemnation, regionally and internationally, the Israeli authorities released the mufti late on Wednesday afternoon.