OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - Israeli occupation forces detained the Grand Mufti of Al-Quds on Wednesday, May 8, after storming into his house, drawing condemnations from Palestinian officials.
"At 8.10 a.m. two vehicles from Israeli intelligence arrived at our house and detained my father, taking him to the Russian Compound detention center for interrogation," one of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein's sons told Ma'an news agency.
Israeli forces said they detained the top religious leaders for questioning on violence that occurred in Al-Aqsa Mosque a day earlier.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the Muslim scholar was detained to answer questions about his connection to a "public disturbance" on Tuesday.
The troubles began when Israeli police detained an Arab who wanted to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque but refused to present his identification card.
It developed into a scuffle in which Muslim worshippers threw chairs at Jewish visitors at the site, Rosenfeld said.
The Grand Mufti is in charge of Muslim holy sites at Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), including Al-Aqsa mosque.
Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam's third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel occupied the holy city in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the detention of the top scholar as illegal.
Abbas "condemned the occupying Israeli authorities' detention of Jerusalem mufti Mohammed Hussein," his office said in a statement.
The president "demanded the Israeli government release the mufti immediately," and said "the arrest represents an audacious challenge to freedom of worship."
Adnan Husseini, the Palestinian Authority-appointed governor of Al-Quds and a former head of the Wakf, called for the Mufti's release.
"While gangs of settlers terrorize Palestinian families all over the city, Occupation forces arrest [the] Mufti of Jerusalem.
The Mufti's detention coincides with Palestinian preparations to mark the Nakba Day, which commemorates the creation of Israel on the rubble of Palestine.
Each year on May 15, Palestinians mourn the loss of Palestine and creation of Israel on its rubble in 1948.
On April 18, 1948, Palestinian Tiberius was captured by Menachem Begin's Irgun group, putting its 5,500 Palestinian residents in flight. On April 22, Haifa fell to the Zionist mobs and 70,000 Palestinians fled.
On April 25, Irgun began bombarding civilian sectors of the Palestinian city of Jaffa - the largest city in Palestine at that time, terrifying the 750,000 inhabitants into panicky flight.On May 14, the day before the creation of Israel, Jaffa completely surrendered to the much better-equipped Zionist gangs and only about 4,500 of its population remained.