Israeli police say they demolished an illegally built mosque in the southern Bedouin city of Rahat, touching off rock-throwing protests by residents.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the two-story mosque was knocked down Sunday in keeping with a court ruling.

Mosque activist Yousef Abu-Jama said residents built the structure illegally because Israeli authorities would take too long to issue approval.

Authorities rarely target mosques for demolition. This particular mosque was financed by a group that is frequently in conflict with authorities.

Critics note that Israeli authorities have not yet acted on a court ruling to evacuate Jewish settlers from a building in disputed east Jerusalem that was illegally expanded.