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Saudi Arrested After Israeli Reporter Sneaks Into Mecca

Muslim pilgrims are seen on the Mount of Mercy in Arafat, outside the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Muhannad Falaah/Getty Images

  • A Saudi national was arrested after allegedly helping an Israeli journalist enter Mecca.
  • Islam’s holiest city has a ban on ‘non-Muslims’.
  • The journalist posted a Twitter video of himself sneaking into the city during hajj.

A Saudi man who allegedly helped a non-Muslim enter the holy city of Mecca has been arrested, police in the kingdom said Friday, following online backlash against an Israeli journalist.

The journalist, Gil Tamary of Israel’s Channel 13, posted a video on Twitter on Monday of himself sneaking into Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, in defiance of a ban on non-Muslims.

Mecca regional police have “referred a citizen” to prosecutors for allegedly helping to “transfer and facilitate the entry of a (non-Muslim) journalist”, a police spokesman said in comments reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The SPA did not name the journalist but said he is a US citizen whose case has also been referred to prosecutors “to take the necessary procedures against him in accordance with the applicable laws”.

Despite growing business and security contacts behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and did not join the 2020 US-brokered Abraham Accords that saw the Jewish state establish ties with two of the kingdom’s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

In her roughly 10-minute clip, Tamary visits Mount Arafat, where robed Muslim pilgrims gather to pray during the highlight of the hajj pilgrimage each year.

READ | ‘I cried when I first arrived’: International Hajj pilgrims rejoice after 2-year Covid-19 absence

He makes it clear that he knows what he is doing is forbidden, but says he wanted to showcase “a place that is so important to our Muslim brothers and sisters”.

Tamary’s reasoning and subsequent apology did little to quell the angry Saudi social media response.

The controversy followed US President Joe Biden’s visits to both Israel and Saudi Arabia last week.

Saudi Arrested After Israeli Reporter Sneaks Into Mecca

Source link Saudi Arrested After Israeli Reporter Sneaks Into Mecca

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