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Palestine withdraws from tournament in Malaysia over war with Israel



Palestinians watch a fire burn among the rubble of a damaged residential building, in the aftermath of Israeli strikes, in Gaza City, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem Acquire Licensing Rights

The Palestine soccer team has withdrawn from a tournament in Malaysia, amid ongoing fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said on Tuesday.

Israeli TV channels said the death toll from the Hamas attack at the weekend had climbed to 900 Israelis, with at least 2,600 injured, and dozens taken captive.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said at least 687 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli retaliation air strikes on the blockaded enclave since then.

The Palestine soccer team had been scheduled to compete in the Merdeka Cup – an international friendly tournament in Malaysia – from Oct. 13-17 along with India, Tajikistan and hosts Malaysia.

“The Palestinian team had to withdraw from participating in this 42nd edition because they could not fly to Kuala Lumpur due to the tense situation in the country at the moment,” FAM said.


The Palestine team are due to play 2026 World Cup qualifying matches against Lebanon and Australia in November. They have also qualified for next year’s edition of the Asian Cup in Qatar, which will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10.






Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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