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Israeli basketball fans attacked while in Spain for tournament

Hapoel Holon supporters brawl with people waving Palestinian flags in Bilbao; Likud MK says fans regularly targeted when visiting Spain for games

Israeli and Spanish soccer fans brawl in Bilbao, on May 8, 2022. (Screen capture/ Twitter)
Israeli and Spanish soccer fans brawl in Bilbao, on May 8, 2022. (Screen capture/ Twitter)

A brawl broke out between Israeli sports fans and people waving Palestinian flags in Bilbao, Spain, on Sunday, ahead of Hapoel Holon’s Final Four loss in the FIBA Basketball Champions League tournament.

The fight began when a group of people, identified in Israel’s press as locals, started waving Palestinian flags and shouting chants against Israel in the area of the town where fans of Hapoel Holon fans were staying, according to a Walla news report that appeared to rely on the accounts of Israeli fans.

The latter group responded by singing the Hatikva national anthem and hurling insults at the rival group. The situation quickly deteriorated from there.

Footage from scene showed people on a street flinging chairs and other objects at each other as smoke filled the air. Sirens and screams can be heard in the background.

There were no reports of injuries as a result of the brawl.

Hapoel Holon was in Bilbao to compete in the consolation game of the international basketball championship. It lost 88-68, to MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, which took third place.

According to Walla, Israeli fans are regularly harassed while visiting Spain for games.

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein tweeted that he was “appalled by the manifestations of violence suffered by Hapoel Holon fans from the gangs of supporters of Palestinian terrorism in Bilbao.”

 

He called for FIBA and Spanish authorities to recognize the phenomenon and do more to protect visiting Israeli fans.

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