Israeli players have been attacked by protesters on Wednesday while having friendly match in Austria against the French soccer club Lille.
With the ongoing conflict in Gaza, a number of protesters reportedly rushed in the middle of the match ending the game at around 86 minutes. The supposed peaceful event turned out to be a chaotic one when attackers interrupted the match just five minutes before its end. According to the authorities, protesters stormed into the pitch shouting slogans about the Gaza conflict wherein 700 Palestinians were already killed after Israel's military offensive in Gaza.
On Thursday, Salzburg police said that around 20 people have been carrying flags and placards while storming into the pitch and have been shouting about the reported deaths brought by the continuous conflict affecting Gaza. The protesters then began to attack the Maccabi Haifa, the team of Israeli soccer players by physically assaulting them.
There have been physical clashes between the entire team and with the more than a dozen of protesters which have been later on identified as Austrians with Turkish in origin. Both parties are lucky not to sustain any injuries after the physical altercation between them. Police authorities were able to pacify and take control of the situation. In order to protect the Israeli soccer team from being again attacked by the protesters, officials have escorted to go back to their locker rooms and even kept them inside the stadium for an hour while there are still protesters chanting outside.
With the news of the Israeli soccer players being attacked by the people from the crowd, Austria's chancellor has condemned the violent situation. "Guests who are staying in Austria have the right to do so in safety, regardless of their origin and religion," Werner Faymann said in a statement.
With the incident, the team released their statement. "We experienced an uncomfortable atmosphere of violence on the pitch and in the stand... We condemn the violence that was used against us. This happened not because of sports or football, but because we are a team that represents Israel" it says.