VIDEO - Jerusalem Police arrested head of Islamic Movement's northern branch Sheikh Raed Salah on Tuesday for incitement following statements made in recent days during the clashes at the Temple Mount in the capital.
His arrest was decided on following consultations between Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, the state prosecutor, and Jerusalem District Police Commander Aharon Franco.
Police sources told Ynet that the suspicions against Salah were pre-existing and not related to a specific event or time.
"We work tirelessly to ensure freedom of religion and ritual in the capital and to prevent radical individuals from interrupting it," said a police source.
Salah was arrested in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, by Minorities' Unit detectives and Border Guard officer and was taken in for questioning.
Thirty of his supporters were present during the arrest.
Salah at time of arrest; did not put up a fight (Photo: Mousa Kaadan)
The sheikh is currently the subject of seven different police investigations and restarting orders barring him from both the Old City and Jerusalem-proper have been issued against him time and again.
Salah is expected to be arraigned by the capital's Magistrate's Court later Tuesday.
In response, Islamic Movement Spokesman Attorney Zahi Nujeidat said the arrest is the "result of unrestrained incitement over the past two days against the Islamic Movement and Sheikh Raed. All the incitement against him is due to the movement and the sheikh's devotion to the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the support of all action to do with the mosque."
He said, "The Islamic Movement will not hesitate to continue holding its ground, in any situation. The sheikh's arrest will not deter the movement from continuing on this right path."
Regarding claims that Salah was arrested over incitement that led to the violent riots in Jerusalem, Nujeidat said, "The sheikh did not incite. The sheikh urged Muslims to come pray and visit the al-Aqsa Mosque. This is a natural and legitimate thing. The problem is with anyone who wants to Judaize the al-Aqsa Mosque."
He refused to comment on whether protests would follow Salah's arrest, and said, "What is important to us, is that the mosque itself is not harmed."
Salah's lawyer, Khaled Zbarke, told Ynet that in the first phase of the Sheikh's investigation he was held as a detainee and not yet arrested.
"We are waiting for the investigation to end and for the police to let us know what it plans to do," he said.
Zbarke that the police had informed Salah that he was suspected of incitement, "But he denies all accusations."
Ahiya Raved contributed to this report