Police Chief Apologizes After Search Turns Up Nothing in Moslem Court

Jerusalem police may have felt like Keystone Kops, but it was their chief, Commander Haim Albaldes, who had to eat crow Tuesday before local Moslem religious leaders.

The police Monday night raided the offices of the Moslem Religious Court on Saladin Street, the main thoroughfare of Arab East Jerusalem. They were on the trail of documents that would confirm intelligence reports of imminent and dangerous hostile activities in the Holy City.

Where there is sufficient reason to suspect that violence is imminent, Israeli police may break into private premises without warning and without a search warrant.

The cops broke in, searched and left empty-handed. The supposed evidence was nowhere to be found. The documents they seized were legitimate.

The raid raised tempers in the capital. About 100 protesters, led by members of the Supreme Moslem Council, or Waqf, marched down Saladin Street, through Damascus Gate to the Temple Mount.

The police did not interfere and no disturbances were reported. But it fell to Albaldes, as senior cop, to appear before the Moslem Court to apologize on behalf of the department to the assembled dignitaries.

He said that while the police acted with sufficient authority, they failed to show “adequate sensitivity” to the status of the court.

The Moslem religious leaders reportedly thanked Albaldes for apologizing in person.

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