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Famed Egyptian footballer Aboutrika apologises for selfie with Israeli fan at World Cup Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Famed Egyptian footballer Aboutrika apologises for selfie with Israeli fan at World Cup

Aboutrika has long been a staunch champion of the Palestinian cause [Twitter]

Date of publication: 4 July, 2018

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Former Egyptian football star Mohamed Aboutrika has apologised after he unwittingly took a photo with an Israeli fan during the World Cup in Russia.

Former Egyptian football star Mohamed Aboutrika has apologised after he unwittingly took a photo with an Israeli fan during the World Cup in Russia.

Aboutrika, a staunch advocate of the Palestinian cause, made the apology in a tweet on Tuesday in response to an Israeli journalist praising him for "normalising sporting relations".

"I did not know and I apologise for the picture [with] the Zionist entity. I do not and never will recognise them because they are killers and occupiers," the former footballer said.

"The Palestinian cause is the most important for Arab and Muslim peoples," he added.

The picture was taken in Moscow, where the now football pundit is covering the World Cup for Qatar-based sports channel beIN Sports.

After scoring in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Aboutrika famously pulled up his Egyptian team jersey to reveal a white T-shirt reading: "Sympathise with Gaza", in protest of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

He has since said he wants to be buried with to the famous T-shirt.

Egyptian authorities have placed the ex-footballer on a state "terror list" over accusations he financed the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Aboutrika publicly endorsed the presidential bid of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi in 2012. He denies ever having funded the Islamist movement.

Morsi became the country's first democratically elected president, only for the army to oust him one year later and ban his movement.

Since Morsi's overthrow, a crackdown against the Brotherhood has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Aboutrika now lives in exile in Qatar.

Last week, a Tunisian reporter covering the World Cup in Russia prevented football fans wearing Israeli flags from appearing on camera during a live broadcast.

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