( AP ) - A security guard who shielded others when he picked up a firecracker that was thrown during a basketball game will still have the use of three fingers on his mangled hand, a hospital official said Tuesday.
Yoav Glitzstein has been called a hero for grabbing the homemade explosive before it could go off and possibly wound some of the players, coaches and fans at the Jerusalem basketball stadium.
The explosive was thrown less than two minutes before the end of Sunday's game between Hapoel Holon and Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel's top professional league.
The live TV broadcast captured a loud boom, followed by a small cloud of white smoke and the sight of the guard falling on his face at the sideline. Horrified players, coaches and fans shouted with disbelief, and the game was not resumed.
Medics worked on Glitzstein at courtside, then rushed him to Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, where surgery lasted nine hours. The lead surgeon was Dr. Michael Chernofsky, who moved to Israel from New Jersey three years ago.
"He had severe damage to all of his five fingers. Two of them where in such a condition that there was nothing to do," said Ron Krumer, a spokesman for Hadassah Hospital. Doctors were able to save the other three, he said.
Yossi Malakh, a fan of visiting Holon, was arrested, and he confessed to throwing the explosive, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Malakh, 20, covered his face with his hood and cursed at reporters and Israel's left when confronted with TV cameras at court Monday.
Sports figures and columnists also expressed outrage at the growing violence around Israeli sports. Fans have been injured in fistfights in the stands, and smoke bombs have been thrown at basketball and soccer games.
On Nov. 4, fans of Jerusalem's Beitar soccer team provoked outrage by booing during a minute of silence for Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated on that date in 1995.
Sunday's explosion was the most serious incident at a basketball game, and commentators called for the league to be closed down until it can provide security for its players and fans.
"We have deluded ourselves that we have all learned the lessons of the past," wrote Maariv columnist Ofer Shelah. "The only way for anything to change is to recognize that sport is dead until something entirely new is done."
Israeli players and coaches urged fans to stop the violence.
"That is absolutely terrible. That is the worst thing I've ever seen happen at a game," Jamie Arnold, a U.S.-born player for the Jerusalem team, told the daily Yediot Ahronot.
"Usually the basketball is the quiet side of the Israeli sport. It's something very, very unusual," said Yaron Michaeli, a spokesman for the Israeli Basketball Association. "We are going to be very, very tough with the situation."
Police said they are re-examining security measures at sporting events, including a soccer match between Israel and Russia this weekend. The number of officers has been doubled for that game because police expect a rowdy crowd, Rosenfeld said.