Palestinian refugee joins Saudi Arabia’s top football league

Imad Khalili gave joy to fellow Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

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Palestinian refugee of Swedish citizenship Imad Khalili joined Saudi Arabia’s al-Shabab football club this week, generating a storm of joy among his fellow Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.

The 26-year-old midfielder originally comes from the Palestinian refugee camp al-Badawi located in northern Lebanon. He played for Sweden’s Helsingborgs IF until he joined al-Shabab this week on loan for six months.

“In 1999, he visited Lebanon and as youth, we played football together and Imad always had ambitions to advance in playing football in Europe,” Abd Khalili, a cousin of Imad, told Al Arabiya News Channel.

“Our happiness cannot be expressed to see that Imad left refugee camps to go to a foreign country, where he had demonstrated his strength and courage to be a good player,” a neighbor to Imad’s family said.

“We now feel honored that Imad is going to join the Saudi league,” she added.

Palestinian refugees in the camp said they hope he would join the Palestinian national squad.

One camp resident said: “Khalili will support the Palestinian national team if he joins it.”

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