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EGYPT: Algerian ambassador summoned to clarify post-football match incidents

November 17, 2009 |  6:46 am


Egypt's Foreign Ministry announced that Algeria's ambassador in Cairo Abdel Qader Hadjar has been called on to explain the violence against Egyptians living in Algeria following the two countries' football World Cup qualifier, the ministry's official spokesman Hossam Zaki confirmed.

Relations between the two countries have been recently marred by football fanaticism, which reached its peak right before and after the crucial match that ended when Egypt defeated Algeria 2-0 at Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.

In addition to the loss, Algerians' emotions were further provoked when Al Chourouk newspaper wrote that six of their fans died in clashes after the game. The allegation was denied by Hadjar, who said that no less than eleven of his fellow countrymen were injured but no deaths happened.

Since then, a number of attacks on members of the Egyptian community in Algeria have been reported.

On Monday, Egypt Air regional manager Nasser Mohamed Aladdin announced that the airline's bureau in Algiers was seriously damaged by Algerians who broke into its premises on Sunday evening. Aladdin added that Egypt Air decided to temporarily close the office in fear for its staff's safety.

Officials at the Egyptian-owned Orascom Telecom said that their subsidiaries' buildings in Algiers were similarly battered by stones and Molotov cocktails, and the head of Egypt's Arab Contractors said his company's branch was also assaulted but none of its workers was harmed.

After opening the score line in the third minute Saturday, Egypt hit a second in the game's dying seconds to be level on both points and goal difference with Algeria. The two teams, which share a history of animosity, will now meet in a one-match playoff in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday, with the winner qualifying directly to summer's World Cup in South Africa.

--Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: A bus carrying Algerian players was damaged in Cairo. Credit: Mohamed Messara / EPA