Mainz 'surprised' after El Ghazi expresses 'no regrets' for Israel-Gaza post
November 1, 2023 08:55 PM
German Bundesliga club Mainz on Wednesday reacted with "surprise and incomprehension" after player Anwar El Ghazi said he does "not regret" statements he made on the Israel-Hamas war.
The club suspended the Dutch international for a number of social media posts related to the conflict, but said Monday the player could return "soon" after he "explicitly distanced himself" from the statements.
El Ghazi, however, took to social media on Wednesday, saying "I do not regret or have any remorse for my position."
"Any other statements, comments or apologies to the contrary attributed to me are not factually correct and have not been made or authorised by me."
Mainz responded to El Ghazi's posts on Wednesday, also on social media, saying the club would "examine the matter legally and then evaluate it."
El Ghazi was suspended on October 17 for taking a "position on the conflict in the Middle East in a manner that wasn't tolerable for the club", Mainz said in a previous statement.
He had shared several posts on social media early in the conflict, including the phrase "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free".
The slogan is seen by some as a call for the destruction of Israel, while others say it appeals for equality for Palestinians and Israelis.
Mainz said Wednesday El Ghazi had "called in sick on Monday and was currently not in training."
Hamas gunmen stormed across the border from Gaza into Israel on October 7 and carried out the deadliest attack since the country was created in 1948.
In retaliation, Israel announced it would destroy Hamas and began a relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces have recently stepped up their ground offensive in Gaza as part of the military response to the Hamas attacks that officials say killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, while more than 230 people were taken hostage.
The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says at least 8,796 people, mainly civilians, have since been killed in Israeli air and ground strikes.