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Israelis detain Al Quds mufti

October 16, 2002

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AL QUDS, Oct 15: Israeli police on Tuesday briefly detained the top Palestinian Muslim religious leader and Mufti of Al Quds Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, for questioning about comments he made in defence of suicide bombings.

“Today as a result of a recommendation by the attorney general, Ekrima Sabri was detained for investigation by the Israeli police,” said police spokesman Gil Kleiman.

He said the investigation concerned comments made in June by the mufti in the Palestinian press regarding the right of Palestinians to use suicide bombers against the Israeli occupation.

Kleiman said he was detained “in regard to a statement he made in the Al-Ayyam newspaper on June 11 in which he pronounced upon the right of the Palestinian people to fight the Israeli occupation and saying there’s no religious prohibition on the use of suicide bombings.”

Sabri was released from the Al Quds police headquarters at 12:15 pm, an eyewitness said.

“Some of the newspapers have false reports, concerning some issues and I clarified my positions,” Sabri told journalists upon his release.

“I consider the case finished,” he added as two plainclothes officers escorted him home in an unmarked police car.

Police sources said Sabri denied supporting “terror” and claimed he advocated only non-violent struggle in his speeches and articles.—AFP