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Israeli footballer in Turkey arrested over message on Israel-Hamas war

ISTANBUL — An Israeli footballer who showed a message referring to the Israel-Hamas war during a First Division match in Turkey has been arrested, several Turkish news outlets reported late Sunday.

Earlier, the country’s justice minister had announced an investigation into Israeli player Sagiv Jehezkel over the incident for suspected “incitement to hate.” His club Antalyaspor, has already sacked him over the incident.

Jehezkel, 28, celebrated scoring a goal for his Antalyaspor team against Trabsonspor by revealing a message which read “100 days. 07/10” on a bandage on his left wrist.

The message was a reference to the Israel-Hamas war, which reached a grim milestone of 100 days on Sunday.

“The Antalya public prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial investigation against Israeli footballer Sagiv Jehezkel for public incitement to hate due to his odious celebration in favour of the massacre committed by Israel in Gaza,” said Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc on ‘X’.

“We will continue to support the oppressed Palestinians,” he added, denouncing what he described as ongoing “genocide” in Gaza.

Antalyaspor said it had sacked the Israeli player, accusing him of having “acted against the values of our country.”

The war began when Gaza-based Hamas attacked on Oct 7, resulting in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

The fighters also seized about 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a relentless military campaign that has killed at least 23,968 people in the Palestinian territory, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Since the start of the conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a traditional supporter of the Palestinian cause, has repeatedly described Israel as a “terrorist state”, insisting Hamas is a “group of liberators.”

On Friday, South Africa said it had stripped its national Under-19 Cricket World Cup skipper of the captaincy over fears he could be targeted by protesters over his pro-Israeli views.

David Teeger was cleared of wrongdoing last month after he praised Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza at an award ceremony for Jewish achievers.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said it had been advised that protests over the conflict are likely to target the tournament’s venues later in the month and focus on the teenager, with a risk of “conflict or even violence.” — AFP

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