JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli police said on Thursday they have released Arab Israeli Islamist leader Sheikh Raed Salah following his arrest at a rally where he allegedly called for violence.
Salah was freed late on Wednesday following a ruling by a Jerusalem court which also banned him from joining “assemblies of more than eight people in public places for one month,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Salah was arrested on Wednesday in occupied east Jerusalem after making a speech at a small rally in which he allegedly called for violence. Police broke up the rally with tear gas, according to witnesses.
Last month, Israeli prosecutors ordered an investigation into Salah on suspicion of inciting violence over controversial works near Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site that have sparked anger across the Muslim world.
The head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel has been quoted as calling for an uprising after Israel began repairs and excavation work near the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem on February 6.
Arabs and Muslims all over the world have angrily denounced the excavations for allegedly endangering the foundations of the mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site. Israel insists they pose no risk.
The site, which houses both the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is where the second Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 after a controversial visit by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon.
In July 2005, Salah was released after more than two years in an Israeli prison on charges of terrorism.
He and four other Arab Israelis were arrested in May 2003 accused of belonging to a “terrorist organisation” and funding radical Palestinian group Hamas, which is responsible for many of the deadliest attacks against Israel.
The Islamic Movement always denied the charges and accused the authorities of waging a political campaign against the group.