Italy soccer attack stokes fears of anti-Semitic violence

By REUTERS
November 23, 2012 20:07
1 minute read.

 
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ROME - A brutal attack on fans of English football club Tottenham Hotspur in Rome on Thursday stoked fears in Italy of rising right-wing and anti-Semitic violence.

Italy's capital has been rattled by increasing militancy by the extreme right since October, with weekly demonstrations by the neo-fascist youth group Blocco Studentesco often ending in clashes with police.

Local media initially blamed Thursday's attack on hard-core fans or 'ultras' supporting Lazio, who Tottenham had traveled to the capital to play in the Europa League.

But two supporters of AS Roma, Lazio's bitter city rivals, were among the 15 detained for alleged involvement in the mass attack on a downtown bar, suggesting a possibly different motivation.

Tottenham have a large contingent of Jewish fans and witnesses told Italian media that masked men armed with knives and baseball bats shouted "Jews, Jews" as they laid siege to a pub where the Tottenham supporters were drinking in a district popular with tourists in an old quarter of Rome.

Ten people were injured in the attack, which left 25-year-old English fan Ashley Mills in a serious condition. He underwent surgery for a severed artery in his leg on Friday and was being monitored by doctors, the Rome hospital where he is being treated said.

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