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Turkish police thwart attack on bus with Russian football fans in Istanbul

February 16, 19:29 UTC+3
According to a TASS correspondent, the Turkish fans attacked the bus only several meters from the stadium throwing stones at the vehicle
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Fenerbahce FC fans

Fenerbahce FC fans

© AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

ISTANBUL, February 16. /TASS/. Turkish law enforcers thwarted an attack of Fenerbahce FC fans on a bus carrying fans of Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow FC ahead of the Europa League match between the two clubs in Istanbul on Tuesday night, a TASS correspondent reports from the scene.

According to the correspondent, the Turkish fans attacked the bus only several meters from the stadium throwing stones at the vehicle. However, Turkish police reacted promptly clamping down on the assailants and detained at least four Fenerbahce FC fans.

Lokomotiv’s first leg match of UEFA Europa League’s Round of 32 against Fenerbahce FC is taking place on Tuesday night at Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul. The second leg encounter between both clubs had been scheduled for February 25 in Moscow.

The visitor’s sector of the Sukru Saracoglu stadium is at the moment completely cordoned off by Turkish law enforcers.

"This was an isolated incident as there were no such incidents on the way to the stadium," Sergey Gorelikov, the Russian club’s manager on work with fans, told TASS after asked to comment on the Fenerbahce fans’ attack.

The Russian football club earlier reported that that the bus with Lokomotiv FC fans was scheduled to set off for today’s game from Marriott Asia hotel to the stadium at 4:30 p.m. local time (14:30 GMT) under the protection of Turkish law enforcers. The match is scheduled to kick off at 7:00 p.m. local time (17:00 GMT).

Gorelikov earlier told TASS that "There would be about 60 people riding the bus, however we expect about 100-150 [Russian] people at the game."

"After the match the bus will set off to the airport also under the [police] protection," he added.

Lokomotiv played an away UEFA Europa League’s match against Besiktas FC in November, when numerous violent clashes of fans with police were reported before and after the match. Turkish police was not reported to escort Russian football fans at that time.

A spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry told TASS earlier in the day that Russian policemen would be assisting their Turkish colleagues in maintaining order and security at the stadium during the match.

The issue of security during the match between the Russian and Turkish football clubs is in particular focus as relations between the two countries had been recently strained.

However, Vitor Pereira, the head coach of the Turkish club, said on Monday that Fenerbahce FC and Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow FC will play the game of football on Tuesday without thinking of politics.

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