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Euphoric Morocco unfurl Palestine’s flag after spectacular win over Spain

Morocco’s football players unfurled a Palestinian flag during their on-pitch celebrations after the team’s stunning World Cup victory against Spain.

The Palestinian flag — which has been fluttering widely across Qatar during the finals — was seen being held aloft by Moroccan players on Tuesday following the dramatic penalty shoot-out win over the Spaniards.

FIFA regulations prohibit the display of banners, flags and fliers deemed to be “political, offensive and/or discriminatory nature.”

In the past, football’s governing bodies have issued fines for displays of the Palestinian flag inside stadia.

Morocco’s players also displayed the Palestinian flag after the team’s win against Canada during the group stage last week.

World Cup host Qatar has no relations with Israel and supports the decades-long Palestinian cause for statehood.

About 250,000 Palestinians live in Qatar, which has a population of around 2.9 million, most of them foreigners.

READ MORE: Morocco dump Spain out of World Cup after thrilling penalty shootout win

‘Win to all Arabs’

Cheers also went up in Tunis, Beirut, Baghdad, Ramallah and other cities as Arabs rejoiced at the largely unexpected win over highly fancied Spain. 

It echoed the pan-Arab pride that has surfaced during several memorable performances by Arab sides at the Qatar World Cup — a contrast to the political disputes that have long divided Arab states.

“This is a win for all Arabs, not just Morocco and the joy is even greater since it was achieved on Arab soil,” said Hazem al Fayez, a Jordanian who was honking his car in the centre of Amman along with friends.

“Today Morocco granted victory to all Arabs,” said Hassan Salim, a Palestinian watching the game in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“I think it’s a great and much-needed win for the youth of the Arab world and especially the youth of Morocco,” said Ralph Beydoun, 31, in Beirut.

Morocco is the first Arab country to reach the World Cup quarter-finals and the fourth African team after Cameroon in 1990, Nigeria in 1994, and Ghana in 2010.

Morocco vs Spain: A contest of blurred loyalties for some football fans

Arab leaders praise Morocco

Leaders from across the Arab world also showered praise on the Moroccan side.

“Congratulations to the Atlas lions, you delighted us. Wow, Morocco, you did it again!” Queen Rania of Jordan wrote on Twitter.

Qatar’s Emir Tamim watched the game in the stadium, giving a thumbs up sign and holding the Moroccan flag.

Iraqi cleric Moqtada al Sadr, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al Dbeibah all congratulated the Moroccan team.

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