Shahid Afridi rebuts pro-Israeli group’s claim over controversial selfie

Shahid Afridi expresses concern for Palestine as he rejects pro-Israel claims. — X/@NorthWestFOI/File

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has categorically denied claims of a UK-based pro-Israel group that he supported their call seeking the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Afridi’s clarification came after the pro-Israel group posted a picture of the former star player with two of the group members, stirring controversy as fans reacted angrily over the post.

“Pakistani international cricketer @SAfridiOfficial stopped to offer his support for our call to release the hostages at our NWFOI vigil last Sunday in Manchester. Thank you for your support, Shahid!” read a caption of the picture.

Shahid Afridi under fire for selfie. — X/@NorthWestFOI

Responding to their claim, Afridi wrote on his official X handle: “Imagine strolling down a street in Manchester (UK) and so-called fans approach you for a selfie. You oblige, and moments later, they upload it as some form of Zionist endorsement.”

Terming the North West Friends of Israel’s claims “unbelievable,” the ex-cricketer asked the netizens don’t believe everything that is uploaded on social media.

“Seeing innocent lives in Palestine suffer is truly heartbreaking. Thus, any photo or association shared by in Manchester does not reflect my support for any situation where human lives are at stake. I take pictures with fans from all over the globe, and this situation was no different. I pray for peace, I pray for an end to this war, I pray for freedom,” he added.

However, in response to Afridi’s rebuttal, the pro-Israeli group said: “You took a picture with your OWN camera with our hostage placards and then agreed to pose with us for a selfie with hostage leaflets. You spoke to us of your own FREE will and posed for a selfie with hostage leaflets to support our cause.”

Afridi hit back at the pro-Israel group, saying: “Nice try NWFOI. This was just a selfie with what I thought was a fan. I do not endorse your Tweet. As a Muslim I pray for peace across the world. Please delete this post as it’s not accurate!”

The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas stormed southern Israel on October 7 last year, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says its campaign is intended to eliminate Hamas as a threat and free the remaining hostages.

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