France detains Algeria's Atal over post on Israel war on Gaza

AFP , Friday 24 Nov 2023

French police on Friday detained Algerian international Youcef Atal, who plays for Ligue 1 football side Nice, in a probe into suspected "justification of terrorism" after he published a social media post on the Israel war on Gaza, prosecutors said.

Nice s Algerian defender Youcef Atal has been detained by French police over a social media post on the Israel-Hamas war. AFP


Last month the 27-year-old defender was banned for seven matches over the post, which he quickly deleted and for which he subsequently issued an apology.

The public prosecutor in Nice opened a probe following a request from the local prefect and mayor of Nice.

The arrest means Atal can now be questioned by police in detention and could be charged, or released with no further immediate action taken, once the detention period expires.

Atal had already been suspended by his club "until further notice".

Despite the player's apology, OGC Nice said that it decided to "take immediate" action, "prior" to any sanctions that might be taken by sporting or judicial bodies, "given the nature of the publication shared and its seriousness".

In mid-October, the Nice public prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation into "justification of terrorism."

Atal has been criticised for sharing a video from a Palestinian preacher on Instagram, calling for violence against Jewish people.

France, which has large Jewish and Muslim populations, ramped up security after Hamas launched an operation in Gaza envelope, south Israel on October 7., followed by an Israeli brutal war on Gaza.

Israeli war on Gaza has killed nearly 15,000 mostly children and women.

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* This story has been updated by Ahram Online.

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