UEFA postpones Kosovo-Israel Euro '24 qualifier amid war

UEFA has postponed Israel's European Championship qualifying game against host Kosovo that was due to take place on Sunday.

The decision by European football's governing body comes after Hamas, an Islamist militant group that governs Gaza, launched a deadly attack on Israel on Saturday. Israel formally declared war on Hamas a day later. The conflict has claimed more than 2,500 lives on both sides and injured thousands.

UEFA said in a statement on Thursday that the game in Pristina cannot be played "because the Israeli authorities currently do not allow their national team to travel abroad."

Israel are now two games behind schedule in a tight qualifying group where they compete with Switzerland and Romania for the top-two spots. Two teams advance to the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany.

Israel were scheduled to host group leaders Switzerland on Thursday in Tel Aviv and that game was postponed late on Sunday. That fixture is now scheduled to be played on Nov. 15 though it is unclear if Israel can safely host games.

Israel are now due to play three Euro 2024 qualifiers in the one-week international break next month designed for just two games.

A home game for Israel against Romania on Nov. 18 -- intended to be played in Jerusalem -- looks as if it will be a decisive fixture in the final group standings.

The delayed Kosovo-Israel game may postpone UEFA's qualifying playoffs draw scheduled for Nov. 23.

Israel will go to the playoffs even if they finish third in the qualifying group because last year the country topped a Nations League group in the second tier.

Israel have never played at the finals of a European Championship tournament. Israel started playing in the competition as a UEFA member in Euro 1996 qualifying.