Palestinian governor of Jerusalem freed after trying 'to limit spread of coronavirus'

West Bank and Gaza report about 250 people have been contaminated

The Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem has been released after being detained by Israeli police for what he said were activities connected to fighting coronavirus.

Adnan Ghaith was held over his efforts to curb the epidemic, his lawyer Rami Othman said.

"If we must pay to protect our people and their security and to limit the spread of coronavirus, then this is the least evil,” Mr Ghaith said shortly after his release.

The West Bank and Gaza have reported that coronavirus has contaminated about 250 people there.

Coronavirus efforts

Israel detained Mr Ghaith on Sunday for the seventh time in 18 months, over what police said was "Palestinian activity in Jerusalem, which is illegal”, AFP reported.

The governor's deputy, Abdullah Siyam, told AFP that Ghaith was freed on bail payment of 15,000 shekels (Dh 15,430).

A video on social media showed Mr Ghaith, wearing rubber gloves and smoking a cigarette, being escorted by police out of his East Jerusalem home.

A group representing Palestinians in Jerusalem said he had been working to ensure Palestinians in the city had supplies needed for protection against Covid-19.

In March, Palestinian groups in Gaza cancelled mass rallies planned for Monday along the border with Israel amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus in the densely populated territory.

Land Day marches in the occupied West Bank commemorate the day in 1976 when Israel ordered large areas of Palestinian land to be seized for state purposes.

The Palestinian Authority ordered marches to be cancelled across the territory.