Israeli authorities cancel Neil Young's gig due to Gaza rocket fire

JERUSALEM Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:16am EDT

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian rocket fire on Tel Aviv has forced the cancellation of veteran rock star Neil Young's concert scheduled for Thursday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Sunday the show was canceled by police for security reasons "in order not to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk".

Militants in the Gaza Strip have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel since Tuesday, when the Israeli military launched an air and naval offensive on the coastal enclave. Palestinian officials say 159 civilians have been killed.

Some of the Gaza rockets have been fired at Israel's commercial hub, Tel Aviv, and have been either intercepted by anti-missile batteries or have landed in open areas, causing no casualties.

Some 30,000 people had bought tickets to the Canadian singer-songwriter's show that was to be held at Tel Aviv's main Hayarkon Park, a representative for the show's organizers, the Shuki Weiss production company, said.

Young, who was to be accompanied by his longtime band The Crazy Horse, last performed in Israel in the 1990's.

Artists including the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and The Pixies, have performed in Israel in the past few months despite pressure from pro-Palestinian groups to cancel their performances over Israeli policy toward Palestinians.

The Pixies canceled a show in Israel in 2010.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Louise Ireland)

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