Jordan fury as Israel quizzes Mufti on Jerusalem Day

Israeli police briefly detained a top Muslim cleric on Wednesday as Israel marked Jerusalem Day, sparking a furious response from Jordan, whose MPs unanimously demanded the expulsion of the Israeli envoy.

In Jerusalem's Old City police arrested more than a dozen people for what they said was disruption of public order, as Jews passed through Arab-dominated areas on their way to holy sites.

Police said Jerusalem Mufti Mohammed Hussein was questioned by detectives in connection with an incident at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound a day earlier in which "chairs were thrown at a group of Jews."

After six hours of questioning, he was released without charge, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

"The mufti was investigated for six hours over what happened at Temple Mount yesterday and over his recent declarations about the situation there," he said, using the Israeli term for the sprawling plaza in the heart of Jerusalem's Old City.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques and is the third holiest site within Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it was the site where the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Hussein's detention was condemned by the Palestinians and sparked a furious response from Jordan, which has custodianship over Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem.

During a parliamentary session in Amman, MPs unanimously demanded the government expel Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo and recall its own envoy from Tel Aviv, the official Petra news agency said.

The vote came in response to "Israeli occupation measures at Al-Aqsa mosque."

Addressing the MPs, Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur said one of the reasons was "the detention of Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Mohammed Hussein."

"If things develop, the government will ask the UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting," Petra quoted him as saying.

There was no immediate response from Israel's foreign ministry.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas "condemned the occupying Israeli authorities' detention" of Hussein, his office said.

Abbas demanded that the Israeli government "release the mufti immediately" describing his detention as "an audacious challenge to freedom of worship."

After Hussein's release, police arrested several people as Israelis were celebrating Jerusalem Day, which marks the "reunification" of the city after Israel captured the Arab eastern sector from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Thousands of Israelis joined marches and rallies throughout the city on Wednesday, including a "flag march" that passed through Damascus Gate on its way to the Western Wall.

Police, who were deployed in their thousands on Wednesday, arrested 13 people including two "Arab youths" suspected of throwing water at Jews participating in the flag dance near Damascus Gate, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

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