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Israel court rejects blocking Hamas prisoners' TV of Euro 16 final

Court ruled that because security prisoners have right to television, they could not be prevented from watching match
Supporters cheer prior to Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at Marseille Fan Zone on Sunday (AFP)

Israel's top court on Sunday rejected a petition by the parents of a soldier missing in the Gaza Strip that Hamas prisoners not be allowed to watch the Euro 2016 final.

Oron Shaul, a soldier in the 2014 war in Gaza, was believed by the Israeli army to have been killed along with Hadar Goldin, and Hamas is thought to hold their bodies.

The Islamist movement that rules the Palestinian coastal enclave has yet to confirm or deny this.

Shaul's parents petitioned the High Court of Justice that it order the Prison Service to prevent Palestinian security prisoners, predominantly Hamas members, from watching Sunday's Euro 2016 final.

Allowing them to watch the game would constitute "a benefit" to Hamas, while preventing them from doing so could "pressure the organisation to give [Israel] the necessary information regarding the fate of the soldiers," the justices quoted the parents as saying.

But the court ruled that because security prisoners have the right to television, they could not be prevented from watching the match. 

"There is no legal obstacle to enable security prisoners to watch the Euro final," the justices wrote in a decision distributed by the court administration.

"We are not under the impression that there is a link between prohibiting watching the final, and the understandable desire of the petitioners to pressure Hamas to release our captive and missing soldiers."

The security cabinet said last month it would form a ministerial team tasked with pressuring Hamas into negotiating the return of the bodies and the release of two civilians assumed held in Gaza.

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