Israel frees Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs

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Israeli police Sunday released from custody the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs after questioning him over claims he organized activities in the city in violation of Israeli rules, his lawyer said.

Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs Fadi al-Hadami had been arrested in his east Jerusalem home early on Sunday and taken for questioning, with a police spokesman saying he had been involved in unspecified “activities in Jerusalem”.

His lawyer Mohannad Jbara said the arrest was due to recent activities that have included accompanying Chile’s president during a visit to Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex.

Jbara said Hadami was released Sunday afternoon.

On Tuesday, Hadami was seen alongside Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on a tour of the holy site.

This infuriated Israel, which said the tour constituted a violation of regulations and a breach of understandings reached with Santiago for the head of state’s visit.

The status of al-Aqsa is one of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest for Muslims after Mecca and Medina, administered by the Muslim Waqf but secured by Israeli police.

Chile later said Pinera’s visit was private, with Hadami’s presence not part of official protocol.

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