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October 05
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A Saudi who helped a non-Muslim enter the holy city of Mecca has been arrested, Saudi Arabian police said, following a negative online reaction to a visit by an Israeli journalist, AFP reported.

Journalist Gil Tamari of Israel's Channel 13 posted a video on Twitter showing him sneaking into Mecca, Islam's holiest city, in defiance of a ban on non-Muslims entering.

Mecca regional police have "referred a citizen" to prosecutors for alleged complicity in "transferring and facilitating the entry of a (non-Muslim) journalist", a police spokesperson said in comments reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The SPA did not name the journalist, but said he was a U.S. citizen whose case has also been referred to the prosecutor's office  "to take the necessary procedures against him in accordance with the applied laws".

Despite growing behind-the-scenes contacts, Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel and has not joined the U.S.-brokered 2020 Abrahamic Accords, under which the Jewish state has established ties with the kingdom's two neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

In his roughly 10-minute clip, Tamari visits Mount Arafat, where Muslim pilgrims gather each year at the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage.

He makes clear he knows that what he's doing is outlawed but says he wanted to showcase "a place that is so important to our Muslim brothers and sisters".

Tamari's acquittal and subsequent apology had little effect on Saudi Arabia's angry reaction on social media.

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