Gaza border protests: 4 Palestinians killed

The Argentina squad in training in Barcelona

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to comment.

The head of the Palestinian football association, Jibril Rajoub, had urged Argentina to cancel the match and had called on Arab football fans to burn posters of Argentina captain Lionel Messi if he participated.

US President Donald Trump's recent transfer of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem sparked protests in the Gaza Strip in which dozens of Palestinians were killed.

Last year, Federation Internationale de Football Association deferred action on a Palestinian-led effort to penalize Israel for having teams on the West Bank.

Palestinian soccer officials, however, praised the cancellation.

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On Tuesday, protesters outside the Barcelona training facility-where the Argentine national soccer team has been practicing for the FIFA World Cup-held Argentinian soccer jerseys stained with red paint resembling blood.

"Unfortunately, we can not come to Israel in the current situation", Claudio Tapia, the president of the federation, said at a press conference in Barcelona, where the team has been training ahead of the World Cup. "Health and common sense come first".

"We want our right of return, we want our right to our country, we want the right to Jerusalem", a young protester, his face wrapped in a kuffiyeh, told Middle East Eye on Friday.

Argentina begins its first World Cup game in Russian Federation against Iceland on June 16. They refused to play in Jerusalem because Palestinians are "violent" and "threatening".

Many Israelis were angry Wednesday after Argentina suddenly cancelled plans to send players to a sporting event.

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Israel and Egypt argue that they must maintain the blockade to contain Hamas and other militant groups, which have built weapons arsenals over the years, including short-range rockets. He also alleged the families of players were threatened, without providing any evidence. Officials at the Argentine President's office declined to comment on the issue.

The Palestinians celebrated the cancellation as a major triumph. "The world is in a deep sleep while the people of Gaza are dying".

It had originally been scheduled to take place the northern Israeli city of Haifa but was moved after pressure from Israel's hardline sports minister, Miri Regev.

Argentina star Lionel Messi is quoted as refusing to play against "people who kill innocent Palestinian children" following the cancellation of a friendly match between Argentina and Israel. Israel's current government has said it will not accept a partition of the city as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Israeli drones reportedly dropped what locals said were firebombs along the borderlines in the south-eastern Gaza Strip on Friday morning.

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After the game was officially cancelled, the Israel Football Association said that they would take action against the PA in global forums after the "brutal and physical threats against the Argentine team".

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