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08th Oct 2023

Robbie Keane reportedly forced to flee Israel after day of fighting

Simon Kelly

Robbie Keane Maccabi Tel-Aviv

It is believed Keane fled to Greece.

Former Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane has been forced to flee Israel after reportedly spending hours locked in a panic room following attacks by Hamas.

The 43-year-old is currently the manager of Maccabi Tel-Aviv. He is said to have taken shelter in a panic room as airstrikes hit the capital city on Saturday, October 7, according to TalkSPORT.

Alongside Keane was former Premier League player and Maccabi assistant manager Rory Delap, who played with Keane for Ireland. It is believed the duo escaped the country to Greece.

Robbie Keane and Rory Delap flee Israel in the wake of conflict escalation.

Hamas militants launched a surprise attack over the weekend, in which Israeli authorities claimed at least 70 people were killed and hundreds wounded, making it the deadliest attack in Israel in years.

“We are at war,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a televised address. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ’round,’ but at war.”

“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price.”

Keane took over as manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv in June of this year and was quickly questioned on the complexities of taking up the role.

Speaking after joining the Israeli club, Keane said he “didn’t want to get into politics.”

The former Spurs man said: “I’m here as a football man and someone that loves the game, so I will certainly just focus on that but thanks for your question. This is the last time I will say it, I certainly don’t want to get into politics.”

In June Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward criticised Keane’s “disappointing” decision to take over as manager, saying it is an “attempt to gloss over and legitimise the apartheid regime”.

However, upon his visit to Ramallah in Palestine last month, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the move does not amount to “sportswashing.”

“I am not comfortable with commenting either positively or adversely on what any individual citizens do with their lives. I think that’s a sensitive dangerous trend in itself.”

Keane’s side have made an impressive start to the season, and sit top of the Israeli Premier League, which has now been postponed indefinitely due to the attacks.

Winning four of their first five league matches, the club are now three points clear of Maccabi Haifa. Keane has yet to post on social media or speak about the incident.

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