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SBD Global/July 25, 2014/International Football

Gaza Protestors Attack Israeli Premier League Side Maccabi Haifa In Austria

Protesters against Israel's military offensive in Gaza attacked Israeli football players "at a friendly match in Austria on Wednesday evening, stopping play five minutes before the end," according to Georgina Prodhan of REUTERS. Salzburg police said on Thursday that around 20 people with flags and placards, mostly Austrians of Turkish origin, "stormed the pitch shouting slogans about the Gaza conflict." Police said there were clashes with the players from Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Haifa, which was playing a friendly against Ligue 1 side Lille in Bischofshofen in Salzburg province, "but no one was injured and police were quickly able to calm the situation" (REUTERS, 7/24). In Jerusalem, Allon Sinai wrote punches and profanities "were exchanged between the handful of youngsters, who waved Palestinian and Turkish flags throughout the match, and the Haifa players, who were mainly stunned by the scenes." Haifa only finally made its way back to the hotel with a police escort after more than an hour, "with some of the protesters waiting for the team outside the stadium" (JERUSALEM POST, 7/24). In London, James Legge wrote Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann condemned the "violent pitch invasion by pro-Palestinian protesters." Faymann: "Guests who are staying in Austria have the right to do so in safety, regardless of their origin and religion" (INDEPENDENT, 7/24).
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