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Israeli Soccer Fans Strike Back After Bosnian Nazi Salutes

Israeli sports fans in Bosnia say they were ejected from a game after angrily responding to Nazi chants and gestures by opposing fans.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 8/17/2007, 12:00 PM

Israeli sports fans in Bosnia say they were ejected from a game after angrily responding to Nazi chants and gestures by opposing fans.

Supporters of HaPoel Tel Aviv attended Thursday night’s soccer match against Bosnia Siroki Brijeg. They told Army Radio that Bosnian fans were shouting ‘Sieg Heil’ and making Nazi salutes, enraging many Jewish fans – one of whom threw a firecracker into the Bosnian fan section.

At that point, the game was halted and Bosnian police rushed in and began beating the Israeli fans. The referees then made a decision to eject all Israeli fans from the stadium.

Other Israeli fans told Army Radio, however, that the blame lay with their fellow Israelis, who come to the games drunk and “go wild.” They reject news reports, however, saying that the Israelis lit the stadium’s seats on fire. “Some firecrackers and torches were thrown on the field, and when the ushers threw them back into the stands – that started the fire.”

Two Israelis were arrested and one was hospitalized. The Israeli team won the game, 3-0.