Israeli forces arrested Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, president of the Supreme Islamic Council and imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, after storming his house in occupied Jerusalem this morning, Anadolu has reported.
A relative of Sheikh Sabri, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu that Israeli occupation forces surrounded the house and ordered the sheikh to accompany them.
“The Israeli forces did not explain the reasons for the arrest,” he added.
Occupation forces have stormed 81-year-old Sheikh Sabri’s house several times and removed him from Al-Aqsa under the pretext of “incitement” over his positions aimed at preserving the Islamic identity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Last year, Israeli soldiers extended an order banning Sheikh Sabri from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for four months, after raiding his house.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.
For years, worshipping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been limited to residents of occupied East Jerusalem and Arab cities and towns in Israel.
The mosque compound covers an area of 36 acres and is the third most sacred Islamic site in the world after the Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Despite this, Al-Aqsa Mosque is frequently and violently stormed by illegal Israeli settlers and police, usually from the gate which leads from the Buraq Wall Square.