Fans of Rival Soccer Teams Clash in Egypt, 73 Killed
Hundreds of fans of rival football teams clashed after a match in a stadium in Port Said, Egypt killing at least 73 people and wounding hundreds others.
Most of those killed were trampled in a stampede at the stands caused by panicking fans while others died from blows to the head and suffocation, according to doctors at hospitals where the wounded were brought.
Fans blamed the lack of the unpopular police to stop the riot after the match between Egypt's top soccer team, Al Ahly and Al Masry.
The violence erupted when fans of Al Masry, which beat Al Ahly, 3-1, chased players and technical staff of the losing team on the field and invaded their pitch after the match. They then clashed with visiting Al Ahly fans.
Al Ahly players locked themselves up in their locker room calling for help. A player said one fan died from wounds inside the dressing room. Military helicopters later airlifted the Al Ahly players and fans from the stadium.
As the riot went on in the Port Said football stadium, a match simultaneously ongoing in a stadium in Cairo, 125 miles away, was cancelled at halftime as a gesture of sympathy by the playing Zamalek and Ismaili teams to those killed in the Port Said stadium violence. A section of the Cairo football stadium caught fire blamed on a short circuit during the match but was immediately put out by firefighters.
Egypt's football association also announced the suspension of all premier league matches.
Meanwhile, the parliament will convene in an emergency session to discuss the violence.
"It's kind of a security vacuum in the football stadium. ... It's not unheard of to have organized violence between football clubs, but something on this scale has never been seen before," said James Montague, a CNN contributor who researched soccer in the Middle East for his book "When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone."
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