JERUSALEM -- Israeli police on Wednesday detained and questioned a top Palestinian cleric about clashes that took place a day earlier in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Sheik Muhammad Hussein, also known as the mufti of Jerusalem, was released with no charges after six hours.
It was a rare arrest of a senior Palestinian religious figure and drew immediate condemnation from Palestinian Authority leaders. President Mahmoud Abbas described the arrest as “a blatant violation of freedom of worship” and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called it “a grave escalation.”
The Tuesday clashes occurred when Palestinians began protesting against a group of Jewish visitors to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as Temple Mount. Two police officers were injured and several Palestinians were arrested, Rosenfeld said.