OGC Nice’s Youcef Atal Outspoken on Israel-Hamas Conflict, Detained by Police

French police detained Algerian international Youcef Atal, who plays for Ligue 1 football side Nice, in a probe into suspected “justification of terrorism” after he published a social media post on the Israel-Hamas war. Last month, the 27-year-old defender was banned for seven matches over the post, which he quickly deleted and issued an apology for. Atal, who had already been suspended by his club “until further notice,” faces potential charges after being taken into custody. OGC Nice took immediate action “prior” to any sanctions that might be taken by sporting or judicial bodies, “given the nature of the publication shared and its seriousness.” The Nice public prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation into “justification of terrorism” in mid-October. Atal has been criticised for sharing a video from a Palestinian preacher on Instagram, purportedly calling for violence against Jewish people. France, which has large Jewish and Muslim populations, ramped up security after Hamas launched massive attacks on Israel on October 7. Israeli officials say the attacks killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and about 240 people were taken hostage. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, and its retaliatory air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip has killed nearly 15,000 people, thousands of them children, according to the Hamas government of the Palestinian territory.