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Israeli police arrest Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah

Aug. 15, 2017 12:12 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 16, 2017 11:10 A.M.)
Raed Salah (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli police detained Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the outlawed Islamic Movement in Israel, on Tuesday morning and transferred him for interrogation “over suspicions of his involvement and support of an illegal and banned union," according to Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri.

While al-Samri did not refer to Salah by name, he was identified by Israeli news website Ynet.

According to Ynet, large police force arrived at the Mahajina neighborhood of the Umm al-Fahm village in northern Israel and arrested Salah, after a joint investigation between police and the Shin Bet, which was ordered by Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.

Al-Samri added that Salah is accused of “inciting violence and terrorism, as well as affiliation with and support of an illegal and banned union.”

“According to available information, the suspect delivered inciting speeches before crowds and a number of his quotes were disseminated on different media outlets,” al-Samri said, adding that the Lahav 433, a special investigation unit of the Israeli police, were interrogating the “suspect."

Ynet later reported that a magistrate court in Rishon Lezion in central Israel extended Salah's remand by three days for further investigations.

Salah was released in January of this year after nine months of detention.

Salah turned himself in to Israeli authorities in May 2016 to serve a nine-month sentence for “inciting violence and terrorism” in a speech he delivered in Jerusalem ten years earlier.

During his imprisonment, Salah was interrogated a number of times, and also launched a hunger strike in protest of being mistreated and held in solitary confinement.

Prisoners solidarity network Samidoun had also reported that Salah had been denied access to books given to him by visiting family members, and denied visits by prominent personalities, including Knesset member and Balad party leader Jamal Zahalka.

The Islamic Movement's northern branch, led by Salah, has been a vocal critic of Israeli activity at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

In October, Israeli forces raided and closed several institutions in northern Israel for allegedly being affiliated with the Islamic Movement, reportedly in response to an order issued in 2015 by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon that outlawed the northern branch of the movement and called for a ban on all of the movement’s activities.

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