-JW- Posted February 1, 2012 Share Posted February 1, 2012 At least 74 people have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said. Scores were injured as fans - reportedly armed with knives - invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs al-Masry and al-Ahly. Officials fear the death toll could rise further. It is the biggest disaster in the country's football history, said the Egyptian deputy health minister. "This is unfortunate and deeply saddening," Hesham Sheiha told state television. As the match ended, their fans flooded onto the pitch attacking Ahly players and fans. A small group of riot police tried to protect the players, but were overwhelmed. Part of the stadium was set on fire. Officials say most of the deaths were caused by concussions, deep cuts to the heads and suffocation from the stampede. "This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us," al-Ahly player Mohamed Abo Treika said. Hani Seddik, who played for al-Ahly as a teenager, told the BBC: "I don't think this is about football. These trouble-makers were not football fans." "How were they allowed to carry knives into the ground? To me, this is the actions of people who do not want the country to be stable and want to put off tourists from coming here," said Mr Seddik, who was watching the match on TV in Cairo. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood - which has emerged as Egypt's biggest party in recent elections - blamed supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak for the violence. "The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime," Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker Essam al-Erian said. He went on by saying that the army and police wanted to silence critics demanding an end to state of emergency in the country. In Cairo, another match was halted by the referee after news of the Port Said violence. It prompted fans to set parts of the stadium on fire. All premier-league matches have been cancelled and the newly-elected Egyptian parliament is to hold an emergency session on Thursday. Fifa President Sepp Blatter later issued a statement, expressing his shock over the incident. "This is a black day for football. Such a catastrophic situation is unimaginable and should not happen," he said. [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16845841]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16845841 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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