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British police arrest three soccer fans over anti-Semitic tweets

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(JTA) — Three British men were arrested for posting anti-Semitic comments on Twitter following a soccer match in October.

Police said two men, aged 22 and 24, were arrested Thursday in London and in Wiltshire, Reuters reported Friday. A third man, 48, man was arrested at his home in Canning Town in London last week on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

An investigation was triggered following a soccer match on Oct. 6 by complaints about tweets that referred to Hitler and the gas chambers in connection to a match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.

Traditionally, the Tottenham squad has had a large Jewish following. Supporters of the club often chant “Yid Army” and “Yiddo” at matches, using a term deemed offensive by some in the Jewish community. Fan groups say the term is used as a badge of honor rather and is not a derogatory remark.

However, the governing Football Association and police have warned that using the word “Yid” could lead to prosecution and a ban on attending matches.

All three men are free on bail.

In a separate investigation also dealing with anti-Semitic tweets relating to the same match, a 55-year-old man from Hemel Hempstead north of London was arrested and cautioned on Nov. 28 for malicious communications, police said.

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