Israel police arrest 3 Turkish citizens outside al-Aqsa

Israeli police arrested three Turkish citizens who tried to performed Friday prayers at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque, according to eyewitness accounts.

Earlier today, Israeli police banned a number of Turkish pilgrims from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, an eyewitness told Anadolu Agency.

The eyewitness said the pilgrims -- two of them 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, said the eyewitness. The Turks' refusal was then followed by a brawl and the three being arrested.

Israeli police have yet to comment on the incident.

A diplomat from the Turkish Consulate in the city is reportedly at the police station now, according to Anadolu Agency reporters at the scene.

Iras al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem's Jordanian-run Islamic Endowments (Waqf) Authority, told Anadolu Agency that some 45,000 worshippers had performed weekly prayers at the iconic mosque on Friday.

In his Friday sermon, Al-Aqsa imam Sheikh Mohamed Salim slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Emphasizing the holy city's Arab and Muslim character, Salim expressed thanks to the countries that voted overwhelmingly this Thursday for a UN General Assembly resolution rejecting the U.S. decision.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have been at the international forefront of opposing the U.S. move, through sponsoring the UN resolution and calling an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, among other measures.

Source: Anadolu Agency