JERUSALEM, JAN. 19 -- The police chief of Jerusalem has requested sweeping emergency powers to impose curfews on residents of the city's Arab sectors and suburbs in an attempt to head off further disturbances here, informed Israeli officials said tonight.

The request marks the first time police here have sought such powers since Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it.

City officials said it was a reflection of growing police concerns about a week-long commercial strike and continued unrest here, which reached a peak last Friday with rioting in Jerusalem's Temple Mount holy site.

"We know that all the attention of the world is on Jerusalem and that every Palestinian nationalist wants to do something here," said Rafi Davara, spokesman for Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek. "The police may want to get ready for this situation."

It was not clear tonight whether Police Chief Yosef Yehudai will get some or all of the powers he has asked for. A report on Israeli television's Arabic news service, citing police sources, said Police Minister Haim Bar-Lev had empowered Yehudai to declare curfews in the Arab neighborhoods of the city and in surrounding villages.

Bar-Lev's spokesman, Nachum Mendel, denied the report, saying Bar-Lev was not legally empowered to impose curfews on territory under Israeli sovereignty such as East Jerusalem. The villages around the city are considered part of the occupied West Bank and authority to impose curfews there belongs to the military commander of the region, Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna, according to Mendel.

But Mendel did not rule out the possibility that Mitzna would transfer to police the power to impose curfews on the surrounding areas.

Except for a one-day outbreak in East Jerusalem last month, Israel's capital city was relatively quiet until last week. Since then, Arab stone throwers have clashed with police and attacked a handful of Jewish homes in suburbs near predominantly Arab neighborhoods. Other youths have enforced a commercial strike in East Jerusalem and yesterday the shop of a moneychanger who opened his business in defiance of the strike was firebombed.

Today there were more clashes between police and youthful rioters in several villages and the Abu Tor neighborhood here.

Tensions were exacerbated Friday when police stormed the Temple Mount, which contains two of Islam's holiest mosques, and tear-gassed protesters and worshippers. Television showed tear gas canisters being fired into one of the mosques, although the government insisted the canisters were fired outside the mosques and gas may have wafted inside.

Kollek went to the mosques yesterday and met with religious leaders in an attempt to calm the situation. He pledged that police found guilty of brutality in putting down Friday's disturbances would be punished.

Davara said officials are chiefly concerned that outside agitators, especially Moslem fundamentalists from the Gaza Strip, may be planning "something big" this Friday at the Temple Mount in retaliation for last week's actions.

{Early Wednesday, Israeli troops killed three guerrillas who tried to penetrate Israel's northern border from Lebanon, an Army spokesman said according to Reuter. One soldier was wounded. The guerrillas tried to infiltrate the border near Kibbutz Menara, about six miles from the spot where a Palestinian guerrilla flew in on a hang-glider in November and killed six soldiers at an Army camp.

{The Army spokesman said the guerrillas carried weapons and explosives, adding "their attempt was to attack a spot in Israel."}