Friday, 7 August 2015

Israel prevents Gaza football team from entering West Bank


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Friday prevented Gaza's Ittihad al-Shujaiyeh football team from leaving the besieged enclave to face West Bank rivals Ahli al-Khalil in the second leg of a cup game, a spokesperson for the club said.

The Gaza-based team was scheduled to leave the coastal territory together with Hebron's Ahli al-Khalil after having played an historic game a day earlier at the Yarmouk stadium.

But four of the players and three of the team's staff were refused travel permits, spokesperson Alaa Shamali said.

The players were identified as Hussam Wadi, Maysara al-Bawwab, Omar al-Arier and Hashem Abed Rabbu.

The second leg of the cup game, scheduled for Sunday, has now been postponed and the next 24 hours will prove crucial as to whether talks with FIFA can lift Israel's travel restrictions.

Ittihad al-Shujaiyeh had agreed before the game that they would not leave Gaza unless the entire team was allowed to travel, Shamali added. more