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A row between the Celtic board and a section of supporters over the Middle East conflict looks set to run after a fan group hit back at the club.

Celtic earlier condemned banners which were displayed in the standing section at their stadium during Saturday’s win over Kilmarnock.

But the Green Brigade have now called on supporters to display Palestine flags during their upcoming Champions League game against Atletico Madrid as Israel continues its airstrikes and blockade of Gaza.

Celtic’s Israel international, Liel Abada, meanwhile, issued thanks to those who had sent messages of support in the wake of the Hamas attack on his country.

Abada’s Israel and former Celtic team-mate Nir Bitton had hit out at supporters on Saturday after they flew flags and displayed banners which read “Free Palestine” and “Victory to the Resistance”.

The club issued a statement on Monday which condemned and disassociated themselves from the banners.

A statement added: “Celtic is a football club and not a political organisation. One of our core values from inception is to be open to all regardless of race, colour, politics or creed.

“That is why the club has always made clear that political messages and banners are not welcome at Celtic Park, or any match involving Celtic.

“At a time of loss and suffering for many, it is entirely inappropriate for any group of individuals to use Celtic Park as a vehicle for such messages.

Liel Abada
Liel Abada spoke out (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We call on all supporters, regardless of their personal views, to unite in backing our players and the club while respecting the rights and beliefs of others; particularly those whose lives are affected by violence and hatred.”

Abada, 22, who is currently sidelined by a thigh injury, wrote on Instagram on Tuesday: “It is difficult to explain the range of emotions I feel at the moment we woke up to one of the darkest days in the history of my country.

“I would like to thank everybody sending me supportive messages on social media over the last couple of days. It is not taken for granted. My heart goes out to all the families who lost their loved ones. Praying for more peaceful days. Love you all.”

However, the Green Brigade have reiterated their “unshakeable belief” that football supporters have the right to express political beliefs and accused the Celtic board of being disingenuous and hypocritical over their claim that the club was apolitical, citing issues over the club’s history and the war in Ukraine.

The lengthy statement finished by calling on Celtic fans on October 25 against Atletico to “raise the Palestine flag on the European stage and show the world that Celtic Football Club stands with the oppressed, not the oppressor”.

The club have been fined by UEFA on several occasions because supporters have flown Palestine flags.

In 2016, the Green Brigade raised more than £130,000 in an online fundraising campaign after Celtic were fined nearly £9,000 by UEFA due to fans flying Palestine flags during their 5-2 Champions League victory against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Glasgow.

The money went to medical aid for Palestinians and projects in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, where a football academy was set up bearing the name of Celtic.