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Anti-Israel Rallies Rock Turkey and Jordan

Thousands of Turkish protesters gathered outside the soccer stadium in Istanbul where Maccabi Tel Aviv was playing against Turkish team Beşiktaş, waving Hezbollah flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans. The protesters yelled “no passage for Zionists” and “Israel is a murderer, get out of Palestine.”

Local police were deployed in large numbers around the area, and prevented protesters from reaching dozens of Israeli soccer fans who were seated in an isolated area. There were no violent incidents inside the stadium.

On Wednesday, Turkish police instructed the team to stay within hotel grounds and to leave only on guarded trips to practice and the game itself. Team spokesman Ofer Ronen told the local media “we trust the Turkish police to do their work faithfully.”

Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat said she had talked with the authorities to beef up the team’s security and would be continuously in touch with the private security company guarding the team.

Meanwhile, dozens of Muslim Brotherhood activists held a demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, demanding the cancellation of peace accords between the two countries and calling for the deportation of the Israeli ambassador.

Jordanian police deployed armored vehicles in the area, fearing a takeover attempt like the one at the Cairo, Egypt, embassy earlier this week.

On Wednesday, the Amman embassy was closed in the evening hours and diplomats were sent home, fearing violent clashes. “Jordan is not Egypt and the king and security forces are determined to keep the peace,” said a source in the foreign ministry, “but it was decided not to take a chance.”

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