Pro-Palestinian protesters attacked a group of Israeli basketball fans in the streets of the Spanish city of Bilbao on Sunday.
The violent incident took place after fans of Hapoel Holon Basketball Club – who were in Spain to support their team in an away game – walked into a pro-Palestinian protest held at the outside the match venue.
At first, protesters waved Palestinian flags and sang anti-Israel chants, while Israeli fans responded by singing the national anthem.
According to the Israeli group, the situation quickly escalated into an all-out brawl after protesters began throwing objects at the group.
“We were literally ambushed,” said Boaz Yitzhaki, a Hapoel Holon fan who witnessed the skirmishes.
“We walked together towards the stadium. Suddenly a group of pro-Palestinians started throwing objects at us from a bar decorated with a Palestinian flag.”
“They threw chairs, glasses and bottles at us. We had families and children with us. It was a very, very scary incident,” said Yitzhaki, who added that although there were police standing nearby, their response was slow and ineffective.
“I was a fan of [Hapoel Holon] for so many years. We came to have fun, we really didn’t expect to get into such a scenario.”
Hapoel Holon President Eitan Lanciano called on Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to intervene: “For several days, Israeli fans who have come to a sporting event have suffered from the anti-Semitism of pro-Palestinian elements in Bilbao.
“[These same elements] are preparing to protest and calling on people to attend via social media,” Lanciano added.
“Every encounter with Israelis turns into swear words accompanied by flying objects. We’ll be happy to hear your thoughts on this.”
MP Yuli Edelstein also responded to the incident: “I am appalled by the manifestations of violence suffered by Hapoel Holon fans from Palestinian terrorist gangs in Bilbao.”
“It is entirely appropriate that the Spanish government and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) take action on this.”