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Israel to indict Preacher of Jerusalem Al-Aqsa Mosque

February 21, 2024 at 3:11 pm

Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, the former grand mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories walks outside an Israeli police station after being summoned for interrogation, in Jerusalem on January 2, 2023. [Saeed Qaq/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Israel said, Wednesday, it will file an indictment against Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the Preacher of East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, for “incitement to terrorism”, Anadolu Agency reports.

A statement by the Israeli Justice Ministry said Sabri, 85, will be accused of inciting “terrorism” after offering condolences to families of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

The Ministry said the decision was approved by Israel’s Attorney General, Gali Baharav-Miara.

Khaled Zabarqa, a defence lawyer for the Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher, blamed pressure from right-wing Israeli groups for Tel Aviv’s move to file charges against him.

“The Israeli decision amounts to a subversion of the law for political goals,” he told Anadolu.

“This is a political, religious and intellectual persecution carried out by extreme right-wing groups to spread chaos,” he added.

Sabri has been detained multiple times by the Israeli forces in the past and was banned from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem for several months.

Sabri is a staunch critic of the decades-long Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territories. He had previously held the position of Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories from 1994 to 2006.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move never recognised by the international community.

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