Maccabi Haifa Champions League match halted after Maltese fans chant 'Palestine'

Five people were arrested after the game on Tuesday


Maccabi Haifa fans were taunted with 'Palestine' chants during a UEFA Champions League qualifying match. 

The Israel side played Maltese team Hamrun Spartans in the first leg of their first qualifying round match for the top European competition at the Centenary Stadium in Malta on Tuesday.

However, there were clashes between fans after it emerged some Maltese supporters chanted "Palestine, Palestine" to taunt Maccabi fans.

It is understood Maccabi supporters launched flares onto the pitch in response to the Maltese supporters' chants.

Video footage also shows Maccabi fans throwing various items at their Spartans counterparts. Several punches were also thrown.

Five Israeli supporters were arrested, according to The Times of Israel, with Malta Today reporting that two were to be formally charged on Wednesday.

Some fans searched by police on entry to the stadium were found to be smuggling flares in their underwear, Maltese police said in a statement. Despite the searches, others managed to get the flares past the police.

UEFA said it was "still gathering the official reports from this match".

Maccabi won the match 4-0. The second leg is scheduled for July 18 in Israel.

It comes as Israeli forces launched the biggest raid in the West Bank for years. Twelve Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in the two-day military operation in Jenin last week. 

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