Hamas set to boycott Barcelona matches

Hamas is set to launch a media boycott of Barcelona as they respond to claims the Spanish football club handed out a complimentary match ticket to an Israeli soldier who was held captive by militants in the Gaza Strip.

A Barcelona spokesman has confirmed the club has given a ticket to Gilad Schalit, whose plight made international news headlines in recent years.

Schalit was captured by Gaza militants in June 2006 and returned home last October under an Israel-Palestinian deal on prisoner exchange.

The spokesman says Barcelona often gives complimentary tickets, but Hamas's official Attallah Abu Al Subah says that no TV station in Gaza will broadcast Barcelona matches from Thursday.

No newspaper in the coastal area will write about the club - even though the Israeli's new career is that of a sports journalist, entitling him to entry for many football matches.