Israel court releases Turks after Jerusalem ‘incident’

A Turkish tourist (C), who was arrested along with other two earlier in the week at a holy site in Jerusalem following Muslim prayers, is seen at an Israeli court in Jerusalem.

:: An Israeli court ordered the release from custody Saturday of three Turkish tourists a day after they were arrested over a confrontation with police at a Jerusalem holy site.

Police said the three were detained on Friday for being “involved in an incident in Jerusalem’s Old City after Friday prayers on the Temple Mount”, the Jewish term for the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

They were arrested for attacking a police officer and resisting arrest.

But Jerusalem magistrates’ court ordered their release in a hearing late Saturday, denying a police request to extend their detention by four days, AFP reporters said.

“The court rejected the police’s argument which is basically that they were liable to interfere with the police investigation, and also that they pose a threat to the general community,” their lawyer Nick Kaufman told AFP after the hearing.

“It was obvious that this case was a politically charged case, and the judge released them.”

A video circulating on social media shows a number of men wearing red shirts with the Turkish flag scuffling with police in the Old City.

Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu said two of the three hold dual Turkish and Belgian citizenship.

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