Israel arrests 'senior PA official' days after Temple Mount crisis

A second suspect was also arrested, the police said.

February 27, 2019 10:57
1 minute read.
A general view of Jerusalem's old city shows the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims a

A general view of Jerusalem's old city shows the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, October 25, 2015. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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Israel arrested a senior official from the Palestinian Authority overnight on Tuesday in east Jerusalem, the Israel Police said in a statement on Wednesday morning, without providing the identity of the subject.

The police said that the senior figure violated laws relating to "fraud and forgery."

Palestinian news agency Wafa identified the PA's governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Geith, as the official arrested, and said that he was arrested at his home in Silwan.

A second suspect was also arrested, the police said.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority tangled last week over the reopening of the Golden Gate on the Temple Mount, as two senior Wakf clerics were arrested and later released.

The Jerusalem Wakf Council announced on Sunday that a section of the Temple Mount that was closed by Israel in 2003 will remain open, even after the arrest of two of its senior officials.

The announcement came shortly after Jerusalem police released two senior Wakf officials who were arrested earlier in the day for their role in last week’s events on the Temple Mount, during which thousands of Palestinians forced their way into the section, which is known as the Golden Gate in English and the Gate of Mercy in Arabic.

Located in the northern third of the Temple Mount’s eastern wall, the Golden Gate was sealed off by Muslim warrior Saladin, after regaining control of Jerusalem in 1187.

The controversial section, which Muslims call Bab al-Rahma, is located opposite the sealed ancient gate.

The two officials who were taken into custody by the Jerusalem police are Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab, chairman of the Wakf Council, and Sheikh Najeh Bkeirat, deputy director of the Wakf department in Jerusalem.

Upon their release, the two were handed orders barring them from entering the Temple Mount for a week.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report

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