Europa League

Gaza conflict forces postponement

Smoke billows following Israeli air strikes between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt.
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NYON, Switzerland (AP)

A Europa League game in Israel was called off Wednesday because of the violence between Israeli forces and the Hamas group in Gaza.

UEFA cited ''the tense security situation in the region'' for postponing Thursday's match in Haifa between Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and Spanish side Athletic Bilbao.

UEFA said a decision on rescheduling the match will be made by the end of the week.

UEFA did not say whether it would go ahead with the planned draw in Tel Aviv next Wednesday for the Under-21 European Championship.

Israel is to host the eight-nation tournament next June. UEFA President Michel Platini has planned to attend the draw along with officials from competing nations including England, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Athletic Bilbao had been scheduled to fly to Israel on Wednesday for the group-stage Europa League match.

Athletic spokesman Xavier Fernandez said UEFA called the club and informed it that ''due to the circumstances currently prevailing in Israel, the match was not to go ahead.''

''As a consequence, we have not flown out there,'' Fernandez told The Associated Press.

UEFA has been monitoring the security situation since an Israeli offensive in Gaza began last week.


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