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3 charged with funding Temple Mount unrest

Police uncover East Jerusalem network that allegedly paid banned provocateurs to harass Jewish visitors to holy site

Palestinian Muslim women from the Murabitun group shout slogans and hold the Koran during a protest against Israel policemen preventing them from entering the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City on September 17, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90 )
Palestinian Muslim women from the Murabitun group shout slogans and hold the Koran during a protest against Israel policemen preventing them from entering the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City on September 17, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90 )

Police revealed Monday that indictments were filed against members of a network that funded disruptive activities on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem aimed at discouraging Jewish visitors to the holy site through provocations and agitation.

The activities of the network were uncovered by a joint Israel Police and Shin Bet general security services operation, police said in a statement.

Indictments were filed against Muhammad Jabarin, a resident of the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, and Najeeb Qawasmeh Jada and Khalil Abasi, residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, for property transactions for the purpose of terror and membership in a prohibited organization.

Police withheld further information regarding the charges against the suspects.

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor asked that the suspects remain in custody.

During the course of the investigation, police said, prima facie evidence was compiled about a network making payments to male and female activists of the so-called Murabitat groups, which have been banned from the Temple Mount during Jewish visitors’ hours.

In addition to questioning the key suspects, police acted against dozens of Murabitan activists in an investigation which is still ongoing, police said.

The single-sex Murabitan [for men] or Murabitut [for women] groups are known for opposing Jewish presence on the Temple Mount by shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) at visitors, and sometimes resorting to physical assaults. The Prime Minister’s Office has described them as a “salaried group of activists aimed at initiating provocations on the Temple Mount.”

Guidance and funding for the group was in the past provided largely by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, which was banned in November last year. At the time the Prime Minister’s Office called the organization “a sister movement of the terrorist organization Hamas” and said the two movements maintained close, clandestine ties.

In early September, the Murabitat (plural of “Murabit” — a defender of Islam) were banned from the mount during morning hours in which Jews visit, on the orders of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Since then, their members have mostly waited outside the gates of the compound, confronting Jews upon their exit.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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