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Flames of hate: Racist fans torch Israeli club’s office

Published time: February 08, 2013 11:02
Edited time: February 08, 2013 15:02
A policeman wears rubber gloves working among debris after a fire broke out at the Beitar Jerusalem football club on February 8, 2013 in Jerusalem. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

A policeman wears rubber gloves working among debris after a fire broke out at the Beitar Jerusalem football club on February 8, 2013 in Jerusalem. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

The headquarters of Israeli football club, Beitar Jerusalem, have been torched on Friday by a group of racist fans, protesting against the signing of two Muslim players from the Russian Republic of Chechnya.

­The arson attack occurred hours after prosecutors filed charges against four Beitar supporters accused of racist chants during their team’s league match on January 27.

“The offices were torched in the early hours of the morning and we have opened an investigation,”
Shmulik Ben Ruby, Jerusalem police spokesman, told AFP.

He added that no suspects in the attack have so far been identified.

The Israeli media report serious damage to Beitar’s museum, which holds trophies, championship plates and historic team uniforms.

Beitar announced the arrival of Zaur Sadaev and Dzhabrail Kadaev from the Russian Premier League side, Terek Grozny, on January 26.

The club’s supporters, who are widely known for their right-wing political views, reacted immediately as the Jerusalem side’s next game was marred by racist anti-Arab chants and banners saying: “Beitar will always remain pure”.  

After the match, several fans were arrested by the police for incitement to racism.

Meanwhile, Beitar’s Russian-Israeli owner, Arkady Gaydama, stressed that signing of the Chechen players would go ahead as the small number of radicals don’t express the views of the country in general.

A man looks from the window at the damages caused by a fire at the Beitar Jerusalem football club on February 8, 2013 in Jerusalem. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
A man looks from the window at the damages caused by a fire at the Beitar Jerusalem football club on February 8, 2013 in Jerusalem. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

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