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Apoel game in Israel to go ahead (Update 3)  

Turner Stadium

Apoel’s Europa League match in Israel on Thursday was going ahead, following uncertainty earlier due to rocket attacks from Gaza, it was announced.

At around 5.45pm a post was published on Apoel FC’s official Twitter account. It read:

“Following a briefing from Uefa, the match will proceed as scheduled. The team will soon be departing for the stadium. The game kicks off at 20:00.”

The Cypriot team is playing against Hapoel Beer-Sheva in the Israel city of Beersheba. Reports said fans were already making their way to the Turner Stadium in the city.

Earlier Thursday the game was up in the air due to security concerns after rocket warning sirens sounded in Beersheba, the largest city in southern Israel, some 40 km from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.

It marked the first time sirens have warned of possible incoming projectiles from the Palestinian enclave since the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. Israel Radio said explosions were heard on the outskirts of the city of 200,000, amid a surge of cross-border fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.

Apoel tweeted earlier: “To avoid any concern, we want to convey that no member of the team is at risk. We have contacted Uefa and expect to be informed about today’s match. As soon as we have information we will inform people immediately.”

According to Israeli reports, Apoel president Prodromos Petrides had asked for the postponement of the game something that was later denied by Apoel’s press spokesperson Nectarios Petevinos who said: “We have not asked but more importantly we do not have right to ask for the postponement of the game, it’s a decision that will be taken by Uefa”.

Speaking to Sigmalive, Cypriot ambassador to Israel Thessalia Salina Shambos said that all Cypriot football fans accompanying their team were safe and sound, as were all Cypriots nationals living in Israel.

More broadly on the situation, Shambou said the Israeli government had maintained the state of alert at the same level throughout the country, although that could change later in the day depending on the decisions taken by Israel’s ministerial cabinet.

The Israeli embassy in Cyprus was in constant communication with foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides, she added.

Established in 1949, Hapoel Beer-Sheva is the first team in the history of Israeli football to play in a European competition, together with Beitar Jerusalem and the first team in the history of Israeli football that played in the Uefa Cup together with Hapoel Tel Aviv.


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