Poland condemns hooligan attack on Israeli soccer team

Police investigating attack by masked fans against Hapoel Petah Tikva staff after friendly game

The Polish government condemned on Thursday the attack by masked soccer hooligans a day earlier on staff traveling with an Israeli soccer team following a friendly match in Poland, in which two people were lightly injured .

A Polish government spokesman said police were investigating the incident.

“We strongly condemn aggression and violence against any person,” Rafal Bochenek said in a statement.

Polish media and police said that the attack happened on Wednesday evening in Suchocin, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of Warsaw, following a friendly between Hapoel Petah Tikva and a local Polish club.

A police spokeswoman, Kinga Drezek-Zmyslowska, said police were alerted after the match about an attack on two men who had traveled with the Israeli team.

She said the attack was apparently carried out by soccer hooligans and that police were trying to identify them.

The Israeli embassy in Poland said the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.

“The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw has been shocked and saddened by the news of another anti-Semitic incident,” said Michal Sobelman, a spokesman for the mission.

“These ‘pseudo-fans’ not only harm good Polish-Israeli relations, but first of all they are damaging to Poland’s image abroad,” she told Reuters.

A statement posted to the team’s official page said the game took place under police guard, and was incident-free. The team said that it wasn’t until after the officer left that the dozens of Polish fans descended on the Israelis.

Security camera footage shows the brawl unfolding near the stadium following the game.

The two Israelis staffers escaped the incident with minor injures.

Photos uploaded to social media appear to show local police making an arrest at the stadium.

“It was really scary, the kind of thing that you see in movies,” one of the Israelis told the Ynet news site on Thursday. “It ended with a black eye and a little blood, but it could have been much worse.”

“An Israeli group traveling abroad is always a target,” he added.

Hapoel won the match 2-0.

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