Israeli police detained Jerusalem’s most senior Muslim cleric on Wednesday, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported, after they stormed his home in southern Jerusalem.
Palestinian mufti Muhammad Hussein was being questioned at a police station for suspected involvement in a “disturbance” at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Holy City.
He was being interrogated “on suspicion of involvement in a disturbance that took place yesterday [Tuesday] on Temple Mount,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement to the press.
“Some chairs were thrown at a group of Jews on the Temple Mount,” which Muslims refer to as al-Haram al-Sharif, Rosenfeld told AFP of the previous day’s incident.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the detention and called for Hussein’s immediate release.
“His arrest was a flagrant challenge to the freedom of worship,” Abbas said in a statement carried by WAFA.
Hussein’s questioning comes on Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks the “reunification” of the city after it captured the Arab eastern sector from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.
Thousands of Israelis will hold marches and rallies throughout the city later on Wednesday, and Rosenfeld said “thousands of police were being deployed in and around Jerusalem and the Old City in preparation for the annual events.”