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Israeli soccer player under investigation in Turkey for gesture of support to home country

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An Israeli soccer player was under investigation in Turkey for allegedly “inciting people to hatred and hostility” as he supported his country’s war against Hamas in Gaza, Turkish officials said Sunday.

Sagiv Jehezkel, 28, who plays for Antalyaspor in Turkey’s Super Lig, scored a goal in the 68th minute of the squad’s match against Trabzonspor. He then pointed to his wrist, which showed the message “100 days. 7.10.” Hamas launched a widespread terror attack against Israel on that date.

But Jehezkel’s gesture was vilified.

“A judicial investigation has been initiated by Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Israeli football player Sagiv Jehezkel for ‘inciting people to hatred and hostility’ due to his ugly gesture supporting Israel’s massacre in Gaza after scoring a goal in the Antalyaspor -Trabzonspor Super Lig match,” Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said, per Reuters.

Tunc added that he condemned Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in Gaza.

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“I condemn the attacks of Israel, which committed crimes against humanity by committing genocide in Gaza, without regard for children or women, young or old, for more than 100 days. We will always continue to stand by the oppressed Palestinians,” he said, per Israel National News.

Sagiv Jehezkel looks to kick

Turkey has been against Israel’s retaliation against Hamas with President Tayyip Erdogan calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “no different than Hitler.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this month that Turkey was committed to a “positive” role in postwar Gaza.

“I think they’re also prepared … to use the ties, the influence they have, the relationships they have with some of the critical players and some of the critical countries in the region to do everything possible to deescalate and to prevent the conflict from spreading,” Blinken said. “… They clearly have a shared interest with us in doing just that, and I’m confident from these conversations that they’re going to make every possible effort.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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