Palestine's Jerusalem governor among scores arrested by Israeli police

Palestine's Jerusalem governor among scores arrested by Israeli police
2 min read
27 February, 2019
Palestinian Jerusalem governor Adnan Ghaith, along with 21 other Palestinians, was detained by Israeli police during raids across occupied Jerusalem.
Adnan Ghaith was detained on Wednesday [Getty]

Israeli police on Wednesday arrested a senior Palestinian official and over 20 Palestinians after recent scuffles at a highly sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, officials said.

The Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith from the occupied neighbourhood of Silwan, was among 22 Palestinians arrested overnight in raids in east Jerusalem, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

Israeli police spoke of two arrests, including "a senior official from the Palestinian Authority," over suspicions of fraud and forgery.

They also conducted extensive raids in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Essawiya, detaining 21 Palestinians.

There have recently been scuffles between worshippers and police there over access to a side building in the compound closed by Israel since 2003.

Arguing there was no longer any reason for it to remain closed, Palestinains reopened the building on Friday and crowds of worshippers prayed inside despite an Israeli order barring access.

The building is known as the Golden Gate or Gate or Bab al-Rahma, Arabic for the Gate of Mercy.

On Sunday, police arrested and later released a top Palestinian Muslim official, Abdel Azeem Salhab, and his deputy after the holy site incidents.

Salhab is the head of the council of the Waqf in Jerusalem, the religious authority that governs the site in the disputed city.

The arrest drew condemnation from Jordan, the custodian of the holy compound.

Masjid al-Aqsa is the third-holiest in Islam and a focus of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

It is also the location of Judaism's most holy spot - Jews refer to it as the Temple Mount - and a frequent scene of conflict between the two sides.

Muslim worshippers' access to al-Aqsa and the adjoining Dome of the Rock is controlled by Israeli security forces.

The religious site is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab