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May 20, 2015 6:06 pm

Moroccan Authorities Detain Israeli Judo Team Ahead of Masters Competition

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The Israeli national judo team was detained in an airport in Morocco today while en route to a competition being held in the country. PHOTO: Adi Avishai.

Moroccan authorities detained members of the Israeli national judo team for more than eight hours on Wednesday, confiscating their passports, Israel’s NRG news reported.

The team was finally released after the World Judo Association, which covered travel costs and has been handling security for the trip, pressured Morocco to release the Israeli teammates.

The Israeli team was visiting Morocco to participate in a Masters competition but were detained at the country’s airport upon landing.

Speaking to NRG in the midst of the ordeal, Israeli Judo Association Chairman, Moshe Ponti, said, “we have our passports and visas and awaited for permission to enter [the country].”

Ponti said he did “not know why” the team was held, “probably because we are Israelis.”

He added that despite traveling for 36 hours and the complication, “we are trying to keep up a good mood.”

Israel’s General Security Service had issued a prior warning to the team not to attend the competition in Morocco, because they would not allow a security detail to accompany them, but the Judo Association in Israel decided to attend anyway.

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