Israeli police arrest 3 Turks at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque

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Demonstrators hold an images of President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and wave a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on December 22, 2017. Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency

Three Turkish citizens were arrested by Israeli police on Friday when they attempted to attend prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Abdullah Kizilirmak and Mehmet Kargili were accused of “battering Israeli police and resistance” when they tried to perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, according to eyewitness accounts.

One eyewitness said the two men — dual Belgian-Turkish nationals, holding Belgian passports — were wearing Turkish flag T-shirts when they attempted to enter the holy compound.

Israeli police said they would have to remove the shirts if they wanted to enter, according to the eyewitness. The Turks’ refusal to do so led to an altercation with the police, who then arrested them.

The other Turkish man, Adem Koc, was arrested after Friday prayers, accused of “disturbing public order and attending an illegal demonstration.”

The three were scheduled to appear in court on Saturday.

US President Donald Trump on Dec. 6 announced a decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite worldwide opposition, sparking angry demonstrations across the Muslim world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have been at the international forefront opposing the US move.

On Thursday the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution against the Trump decision by a vote of 128-9, with 35 abstentions.

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