Egypt: 73 people killed during clashes between rival fans after a football match in Port Said
At least 73 supporters have been killed in clashes between rival fans following a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said.
The supporters have been killed when fans invaded the pitch after a match between top-tier clubs Masry and al-Ahly on Wednesday.
It is feared the death toll could rise as about 1,000 people have been injured.
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.
Some of the dead were security officers, the Associated Press news agency quoted a morgue official as saying.
It appears some fans had taken knives into the stadium.
The lack of the usual level of security in the stadium might have contributed to the clashes.
Police in Egypt have been keeping a much lower profile since last year’s popular protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Egyptian fans are notoriously violent, particularly supporters of al-Ahly known as the Ultras.
They have been heavily implicated in the political confrontations recently, our correspondent adds.
Wednesday’s violence broke out at the end of the match, which, unusually, Port Said side Masry won 3-1.
As 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.
Helicopters are being sent to Port Said to transport injured fans.
“This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us,” al-Ahly player Mohamed Abo Treika said.
All premier-league matches have been cancelled and the newly-elected Egyptian parliament is to hold an emergency session on Thursday, state TV has announced.