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Published on 25 August 2016

Security bracing for clashes ahead of Israel soccer match in France

Security has been increased ahead of Thursday night's game between Beitar Jerusalem and St. Etienne; pro-Palestinian rally expected.

Security mesures have been stepped up ahead of the Europa League soccer match between St. Etienne and Beitar Jerusalem in France on Thursday.

Authorities have said that there is a high risk of violence between the two sides, according to French media. 
 

The sale and consumption of alcohol is forbidden within the safety zone around the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium. There is also a ban on the use of pyrotechnics around the venue. 

Pro-Palestinian activists have called for a rally outside of St. Etienne's City Hall, using the Israeli team's presence as an opportunity to protest Israeli policies. 

There is a possibility that St. Etienne's "Green Angels," the French club's fan group, will make their presence felt with around 200 to 300 people at the rally.

"La Familia," Beitar Jerusalem's group of staunch supporters, has drawn condemnation over the years for its extremist outlook. The group is known to foster anti-Arab sentiments.

In July, over 400 police officers performed an operation arresting 47 members of the group on suspicion of intent to bring pyrotechnics to matches and illegal weapons trafficking.

Thursday's measures come after Scotland's Celtic team supporters greeted the Hapoel Beersheba team with Palestinian flags during a match earlier this month, for which the Union of European Football Associations took disciplinary action against the team from Glasgow.

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