Israeli authorities on Monday barred the preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, from travel for four months, according to his office.
In a statement, the preacher’s office said he was handed an order from the Israeli Intelligence Service of being banned from travel for a 4-month period.
The order cited a “real threat to state security” for the travel ban against the mosque preacher.
Sabri, for his part, termed the Israeli ban as “unjust.”
“This unjust decision will not change my position or prevent me from doing my religious duty towards my people and nation,” Sabri, 83, said on Twitter.
“I will continue to defend the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque as long as I’m alive,” he added.
His defense lawyer Hamzeh Qutteineh said the travel ban “was part of Israeli repressive measures against the preacher to restrict his religious role as a preacher of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said in a statement.
In the past years, Sabri was subjected to arrests several times along with being banned from the Al-Aqsa Mosque for months.
Sabri is one of the leading Palestinian figures in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque against Israeli restrictions and attempts to limit Palestinian presence in the holy site. He had served previously as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine.
The travel ban comes amid rising tensions across the Palestinian territories since last month as a result of repeated Israeli arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank and settler incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.