Hours after being released to house arrest on Thursday, the head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, received a hero’s welcome in Umm el-Fahm, and delivered a speech vowing that Zionism would meet its end in Turkey.

“Herzl began the Zionist project in Turkey. Now, this project, which wanted to begin there, will end in Turkey,” Salah told a crowd of locals waving Palestinian and Turkish flags.

On Monday, masked youths rioted in Umm el-Fahm, stoning police and shouting “Allahu abkar.”

Earlier in the day, Salah was released to house arrest by the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court until Tuesday, and ordered to post NIS 150,000 bail.

Muhammad Zeidan, chairman of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, and Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabes, head of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, were also released to house arrest after being taken into custody during the raid.

Salah accused Navy commandos of trying to kill him during the takeover of the Gaza-bound protest ship Mavi Marmara on Monday.

“IDF soldiers tried to kill me. They shot toward someone else they thought was me,” he said before a court hearing.

“The kidnapping is an absolute crime,” Salah said. “We have a right to defend ourselves, we have a right to help the weak.”

A police source told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Salah “tried to provide cover” for a gunman who shot at naval commandos during the raid, but the gunman had already been hit.

The Islamic Movement’s northern branch has controlled the Umm el-Fahm Municipality since the 1990s.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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