The Palestine soccer team has withdrawn from a tournament in Malaysia after a fresh crisis broke out between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas over the weekend, disrupting the team’s travel arrangements, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said on Tuesday.
“The withdrawal came due to players being unable to travel because of the events and circumstances that the Palestinian territories are going through,” Firas Abu Hilal, secretary-general of the Palestinian Football Association, told Reuters.
The Palestine national football 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 host country, Malaysia.
Hilal said the players’ plans had been disrupted by the repeated closure of a crossing connecting Jordan to the Palestinian territories, through which they would have travelled to Malaysia.
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.