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Police probe Walcott coin attack

WALCOTT-CARDIFFLONDON, February 3 – Police said Monday they were looking for three men accused of pelting Arsenal’s Theo Walcott with coins during last month’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

The 24-year-old England winger came under attack as he was carried off on a stretcher after injuring his knee during the FA Cup tie at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on January 4.

Stewards and ambulance staff were also hit by the coins, in a confrontation that saw Walcott make a “2-0” gesture with his hands in retaliation, referring to the scoreline.

His knee injury means he will be out of action for six months and so miss going to this year’s World Cup in Brazil with England.

Monday saw London’s Metropolitan Police Force release indistinct pictures of the three men suspected of throwing the coins.

“During the match, an Arsenal player on a stretcher, medical staff carrying him and stewards were struck by coins and other missiles thrown at them from a section of the crowd occupied by Tottenham fans,” a force spokesman said.

“The player and stewards received minor injuries as a result. Officers from the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation and have now identified three men they would like to contact.”

Police are also investigating anti-Semitic twitter posts, which referred to the Holocaust, that were posted after the match.

Tottenham in particular are known for having Jewish supporters, although Arsenal too draw plenty of Jewish fans from north London’s sizeable Jewish community.

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The police’s statement regarding Walcott came on the same day as, in a separate incident, that Britain’s interior ministry announced that controversial French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala had been banned from entering the UK.

Dieudonne had reportedly planned to visit to support Nicolas Anelka over the footballer’s use of the “quenelle” gesture.

Dieudonne, who has been widely accused of promoting anti-Semitism, already has a string of convictions in France for hate speech and other related offences.

Former France international Anelka, a friend of the comedian, has been charged by the Football Association, the sport’s governing body in England, after he made the “quenelle” gesture, which was popularised by Dieudonne and is described by critics as anti-Semitic.

The West Bromwich Albion striker made the gesture during a goal celebration after scoring against West Ham during an English Premier League match on December 28.

Anelka denies the charge, saying he is neither anti-Semitic nor racist.

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