JERUSALEM — Israel on Tuesday said it has outlawed an Islamist group accused of inciting violence among the country’s Arab citizens, accusing it of fueling a deadly two-month wave of violence.

The move – Israel’s latest step aimed at stamping out the violent escalation – threatened to worsen already strained relations with the country’s Arab minority. Arab leaders condemned the decision.

The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement of Israel, which provides religious and educational services for Israeli Arabs, routinely accuses Israel of trying to take over a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, a charge Israel denies. The site is at the heart of the latest surge in Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The government announced early Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet had approved the measure, which had been widely expected. Israeli politicians have repeatedly called for a ban on the group since the violence erupted in mid-September.

“The goal is to stop the dangerous incitement at home and prevent harm to innocent life,” Netanyahu said.

After the decision, Israeli police ordered 17 organizations affiliated with the party to close down and searched more than a dozen of the organizations’ offices, seizing computers, files and funds, police said. Authorities also froze the group’s bank accounts. The government said activists could be subject to arrest if they violate the ban.

The group’s leader, radical cleric Raed Salah, defiantly said his party would fight the measure and continue its mission.