Iraq football team to play first match in Palestinian territories

(iStock)
(iStock)

Baghdad - Iraq's national football team is set to travel on Thursday on its first-ever visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank where it will face off against the Palestinian national squad, a team official said Monday.

Iraq fought in wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and has still technically yet to make peace with the Jewish state.

Most teams in Arab countries - many of which do not recognise Israel - refuse to visit the Palestinian territories because Israel control's the West Bank's borders and blockades the Gaza Strip.

But Palestinian leaders have for years called on Arab countries to send sporting and cultural delegations to help ease their isolation.

The friendly match with Iraq will be held Saturday in Ramallah, the West Bank's administrative centre.

"A Palestinian delegation will wait for the Iraqi team in Amman and escort it to Ramallah," Iraqi team official Basil Gorgis told AFP.

The Palestinian team, a FIFA member since 1998, in May squared off against the Iraqi squad in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 7945 votes
Cricket
11% - 1990 votes
Football
19% - 3624 votes
Athletics
2% - 467 votes
Boxing
1% - 172 votes
Cycling
2% - 446 votes
Golf
5% - 926 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1581 votes
Tennis
3% - 633 votes
Water sports
1% - 170 votes
American sports
1% - 224 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 576 votes
Vote