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Arabic press review: Fury over Algerian footballer's trip to Israel

Meanwhile, agreement is reached on a multi-billion euro loan from Italy to Egypt to finance an arms deal, and 13 Jordanian MPs miss the opening of parliament after contracting coronavirus
Algerian international footballer Hicham Boudaoui has caused anger by travelling to a match in Israel with his club OGC Nice (AFP)

Anger in Algeria over footballer’s Israel visit

An Algerian footballer's visit to Israel to play a match has provoked a wave of anger among fans in Algeria on social media, who accused him of normalising the occupation, saying that he was supposed to refuse to travel to Israel, reported Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

Hicham Boudaoui, 21, an Algerian international, travelled to Israel with his French club OGC Nice to play Hapoel Be’er-Sheva FC on 10 December in the Europa League competition.

According to the newspaper, Boudaoui, considered one of the rising young stars of the Algerian national team, would be the first athlete with an Algerian passport bearing the stamp of the "state of the occupation", a phrase frequently quoted by Algerians' comments.

Another Algerian international player and member of the OGC Nice team, Youcef Atal, 24, had been ruled out of the trip because of an injury.

Massive loan from Italy to Egypt

Government sources in Egypt familiar with economic and military cooperation with Italy have revealed that an agreement is imminent between the Egyptian government and the Italian Export Credit Agency (Sace), reported Al Araby Al Jadeed.

The agreement would clear the way for Egypt to obtain a loan of more than 5bn euros ($6 bn), which would be financed by a number of Italian and European banks, the news website said.

The loan would be disbursed in phases during the current and following fiscal years and used to finance half of the amount required in the Italian-Egyptian arms deal, worth about 11bn euros ($13.3 bn), according to the sources.

The sources said that Egypt had previously purchased two Italian multipurpose frigates (FREMM) as part of the deal worth 1.2bn euros ($1.45bn), of which 500m  euros ($605m) were a loan from Italy to the Egyptian Ministry of Defence. The new loan would increase the interest rate by about five percent over the previous one.

However, the sources refused to disclose the interest rate that had been agreed upon.

Any new deal would impose significant economic burdens on Egypt for about seven years, with the Ministry of Defence paying the largest instalment of the value of these loans, according to the sources.

Jordan: 13 MPs infected with coronavirus

Thirteen members of Jordan’s parliament were absent from its opening session on Thursday morning in the capital Amman because they had contracted coronavirus, Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad reported quoting well-informed sources.

The newspaper said that in addition to the 13 MPs, four members of the upper house - the second council, which is appointed by King Abdullah II - had also been absent after contracting the Covid-19 virus.

Earlier, Secretary General of the Senate Ali al-Zyoud said that the opening session would be limited to a restricted number of members from the Senate, parliament and government in order to limit the spread of the virus.

He said that preventative measures would include the wearing of masks and maintaining distance, as well as participants having coronavirus tests prior to the opening of the session.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye