Global sports stars condemn Gaza violence, pledge support for people of Palestine
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Sports personalities from all around the world have condemned the violence in Gaza and pledged their support and solidarity with the people of Palestine.
This comes after the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said the number of victims from Israeli air strikes on Gaza reached 43, including 13 children. Another 250 people were also injured. At least five people in Israel have also been killed by rocket fire from Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades.
The violence erupted after Israeli security forces fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at Muslim worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest site – to pray on the final Friday of Ramadan last week.
Several English Premiership football stars, led by Manchester City's champion players Benjamin Mendy and Riyad Mahrez, along with Liverpool's Sadio Mane both tweeted to show their solidarity with the Palestinians.
Mane's Liverpool Egyptian teammate Mohammed Salah posted a message condemning the violence and called on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson "to do everything in their power to stop the killing of innocent lives".
However, Salah did not specifically mentioning "Palestine" prompting the ire of the majority of his 14.3 million followers.
I’m calling on all the world leaders including on the Prime Minister of the country that has been my home for the past 4 years to do everything in their power to make sure the violence and killing of innocent people stops immediately. Enough is enough. @BorisJohnson— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) May 11, 2021
Prominent cricketers have also joined the mass condemnation with Proteas Kagiso Rabada and Tabraiz Shamsi posting messages #PrayForPalestine, while former captain Hashim Amla compared the Palestine conflict to Nelson Mandela's struggle against Apartheid, reminding people of Mandela's unstinting support for the people of Palestine throughout his life. The former President had said South Africa's struggle was "incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians".
Several members of the Pakistan cricket team, led by captain Babar Azam also posted messages on Twitter.
Last weekend, players of Chilean first division club Palestino - founded in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants - wore the keffiyeh, a chequered black and white traditional Arab scarf, before their match against Colo-Colo to show their support for Palestinians.