War knows few boundaries, and a select group of Pro-Palestinian protestors ignored both the physical and metaphorical lines of sport when they attacked players from the strong Israeli club Maccabi Haifa during a Wednesday friendly against Lille in Austria.
As evidenced by the photo at right and video below, it went well beyond a symbolic pitch invasion. Thirty-year-old Israeli international defender Eyal Meshumar took a kick to the chest.
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The Daily Mail posted a number of surreal photos from the event, and some awful claims are coming out of Europe:
One Haifa player said he saw a protester with a knife in his hand.
— Allon Sinai (@AllonSinai) July 23, 2014
Maccabi Haifa’s pre-season match against French club Lille in Austria had to be abandoned in the 85th minute on Wednesday after pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the pitch and confronted the players.
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.
The security stewards on hand were slow to react, but ultimately the situation calmed down, with several of the protesters being escorted out of the stadium and the Haifa players leaving the pitch unscathed.
The contentious issues in Israel continue to boil over into other parts of the world, and here’s some background from the BBC:
Israel launched a military offensive on 8 July, with the declared objective of stopping rocket fire from Gaza.
At least 649 Palestinians and 32 Israeli soldiers, plus three Israeli civilians, have been killed in the past 15 days of fighting, officials say.
Separately on Wednesday, a court in France jailed three men for rioting after a pro-Palestinian rally in a mixed suburb of Paris degenerated into anti-Semitic violence.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence, which erupted at a protest over Israel’s actions in Gaza.
Here’s how people watching the friendly at home saw the incident: