Runners take part in the Jerusalem Marathon
Runners take part in the Jerusalem Marathon Flash 90

Some 100 Palestinian Arabs tried to disrupt the annual Jerusalem Marathon on Friday, the Israel Police told AFP.

"Around 100 demonstrators holding Palestinian flags tried, at two separate parts of the course, to disrupt the race," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told the news agency.

Police arrested four of them and dispersed the rest "with ease," she said, adding that the race had "continued as normal."

Some 20,000 people participated in Friday's marathon, in which Kenyan runner Ronald Kimbly raced to victory.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) opposes the marathon, because part of its route goes through eastern Jerusalem, which the PA claims as the capital of its future state.

"The marathon is used to cover up Israel's image around the world while acting as a smokescreen to its illegal annexation of and gradual ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied city," said a statement from a movement to boycott Israel over its alleged human rights violations, quoted by AFP.

Ahead of last year’s Jerusalem Marathon, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called on runners and sponsors to boycott it, claiming involvement in it implies acceptance of Israel's “illegal annexation” of eastern Jerusalem.

Two years ago, sports ministers of Arab countries announced a boycott of the Adidas company because of the sponsorship it gave to the Jerusalem Marathon.

Hamas had also declared a boycott on Adidas over the Jerusalem Marathon at the time, and Hamas’ Gaza-based Ministry of Sports organized a demonstration against the company, during which participants burned shirts with the Adidas company logo.

Police on Friday restricted access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after information was received about Arabs intending to riot on the Temple Mount at the end of Friday prayers.

The marathon bisects a small part of the Old City near where the compound is located.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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