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Friendly between Maccabi Haifa and Paderborn moved to new Austrian venue amid security worries

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VIENNA - A preseason friendly between Maccabi Haifa and German team Paderborn was moved to a new venue after pro-Palestinian demonstrators stormed the pitch during the Israeli club's previous game in Austria.

The match will go ahead on Saturday in Leogang, in Salzburg province, organizer Hannes Empl told the Austria Press Agency.

Paderborn, which is about to start its first season in the Bundesliga, said special security precautions will be in place and fans will be asked to bring identity cards or passports.

Earlier Friday, authorities at the original venue, the small town of Kirchbichl, said the game was cancelled because they wouldn't be able to guarantee security if there were disturbances.

On Wednesday, about 20 protesters waving Palestinian flags and signs with anti-Israeli slogans ran onto the pitch during Maccabi's friendly against French side Lille in Bischofshofen, near Salzburg. Players and protesters clashed, and the game was abandoned.

In response to the incident, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann invited leaders of the Jewish and Muslim communities and representatives of the Roman Catholic and other churches to a "dialogue of religions" at his office in Vienna on Aug. 25.

"The peaceful cohabitation of religions is particularly important to me," Faymann said in a statement. "This peaceful climate must not be endangered by anything or anybody."

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