Police probe violence involving Beitar Jerusalem fans

Police in Israel are looking into claims that supporters of the right-wing Betar Jerusalem football team verbally abused Palestinian workers in a shopping centre.

According to Ha'aretz, the clash took place at the Malha Centre last Monday after a match at the nearby Teddy Stadium, named after the former mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek.

The newspaper said that hundreds of fans of Israel's most controversial football club, most of whom were teenagers, flocked to the centre and began racially abusing Arab workers and shoppers, including shouting "death to Arabs". There were also reports that some of the supporters physically attacked workers.

The director of the shopping centre, Gideon Avrahami, said that in his many years in the job he had "never seen such a thing".

"It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible."

The football club's management condemned the violence.

No arrests were made at the time because nobody filed a complaint, but police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that an investigation had now been launched.

Last updated: 9:41am, March 26 2012