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Palestine football team quits Malaysia cup over Israel-Gaza conflict

KUALA LUMPUR: The Palestine football team has pulled out of a tournament in Malaysia, the Southeast Asian nation’s football association said on Tuesday (Oct 10), citing the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants.

Israel has been left reeling by an unprecedented attack by Hamas militants who stormed the Gaza border under a barrage of rocket fire last Saturday morning and killed more than 900 people.

In response, Israel has imposed a total siege on the coastal enclave and is carrying out a massive air and artillery bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip that has so far killed at least 687 people.

“The Palestinian team had to withdraw from participating … because they could not fly to Kuala Lumpur due to the tense situation … at the moment,” the Malaysian football association said in a statement.

The team was due to play in the Merdeka Cup friendly tournament in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, but the opening match against Tajikistan set for Friday has been cancelled.

The cup, which runs until Oct 17, will now feature only three teams with Tajikistan, who will get a bye to the final, joined by Malaysia and India.

The Palestine team is due to play qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup against Australia and Lebanon next month.

It has also qualified for the regional Asian Cup tournament in Qatar, which begins in January.


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