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Soccer clashes kill at least 36 people in Egypt

February 1, 2012 | 12:13 pm

Mayhem erupted at an Egyptian soccer game when hooligans from the winning team stormed the field, attacking opposing players and fans in clashes that killed at least 36 people

REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- Mayhem erupted Wednesday at an Egyptian soccer game between two longtime rivals when hooligans from the winning team stormed the field, attacking opposing players and fans in clashes that killed at least 36 people, according to state authorities and media reports.

Violence broke out in the coastal town of Port Said after that city's team won a rare victory over visiting Ahly, a powerhouse club from Cairo. Port Said supporters rushed the field immediately after after the game. Chaos spread and players and fans from Ahly ran for cover beneath the stadium and in locker rooms.

The bloodshed stunned a nation that has been enduring protests and politically related violence since last year's overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak. There had been sharp animosities between the two clubs for years but nothing indicating the level of hostilities that ignited Wednesday night.

"There are 11 deaths at my hospital. Two other hospitals include 25 deaths. Three fans have also died in the stadium," Hassan Esnawy, the manager of Port Said's El-Amiry Hospital, said in a television interview. "Some died of stampede and others died of suffocation."

The hooligans startled players and officials by sprinting across the pitch and attacking Ahly fans, who complained that police and security officials did little to prevent the onslaught.

"The security forces left us; they did not protect us. One fan has just died in the dressing room in front of me," veteran Ahly player Mohamed Abou-Treika yelled in a phone while speaking to a TV channel.

Another Ahly player, Mohamed Baraket, said: "People have died; we are seeing corpses now. There are no security forces or army personnel to protect us."

Ambulances were prevented from reaching the field while police attempted to regain control.

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 -- Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan

Photo: Flares are thrown during clashes that erupted after a soccer match in Port Said, Egypt, on Wednesday. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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