Israeli forces have nabbed the director of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
On Saturday, Israeli forces denied Palestinians entry to the mosque, which is located in al-Khalil’s Old City.
The mosque's director, Munther Abu al-Failat, was also arrested.
Palestinian Religious Endowments Minister Yousef Adeis slammed the move as racist, saying the mosque is an Islamic site and has nothing to do with the Jews.
Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Tel Aviv regime forces, reportedly attacked Palestinian homes near the mosque with rocks.
Also on Saturday, Israeli forces blocked exits from al-Khalil in search of assailants who allegedly stabbed three Israelis.
The Israeli military also blocked off the northern entrance of al-Khalil with mounds of dirt. The eastern entrance has been sealed off for days.
Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem on Friday lashed out at the Israeli military for carrying out “immoral and unlawful” measures which it said hinder the Palestinian freedom of movement in al-Khalil.
“These steps constitute collective punishment of residents of Hebron who are suspected of nothing and are forced to suffer serious disruptions in their daily lives,” the group said.
Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier was shot by friendly fire in the al-Ras area east of the Ibrahimi Mosque on Saturday.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that the soldier was injured by the “accidental discharge of a bullet.”
Home to 200,000 Palestinians, al-Khalil sees frequent cases of violence as hundreds of Israeli settlers also live in the city, which has been the scene of near-daily clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters.
Also on Saturday, Israeli forces raided Palestinians home in the city of Nablus and nabbed three Palestinians.
Tensions in the occupied territories have dramatically escalated in recent weeks.
In August, Tel Aviv imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). The move sparked the recent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters.
Palestinians are also angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and their attacks on Palestinian properties. Palestinians say the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound.