Security tight as Israeli volleyballers fall in Turkey

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel lost to Turkey in the Euroleague women’s volleyball bronze medal game in an empty arena amid tight security.

More than 2,000 Turkish police guarded the Israeli team at the tournament, held over the weekend in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Turkey defeated Israel, 3-0, in the bronze medal match Sunday of the four-team tournament. Israel had lost the previous day to the tournament winner, Serbia.

Israel’s matches were played in front of stands empty except for security personnel, relatives and other athletes. Snipers reportedly were positioned on top of the sports complex as well.

A small group of dozens of demonstrators reportedly gathered near the 7,000-seat arena to protest Israel’s interception on May 31 of a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla that left nine Turkish passengers dead. Israeli-Turkish relations have been at a low point since after being damaged badly following the Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09.

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