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Egypt: More than 70 killed in football violence

Egypt: More than 70 killed in football violence
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At least 73 people have been killed and 1,000 more injured after a football pitch invasion in the Egyptian city of Port Said.

The riot followed a game between home side al-Masry and bitter rivals Al Ahli, one of Egypt’s most successful clubs. Masry fans invaded the pitch, even though their team had won the match 3-1.

They chased fans and players from the rival club, throwing stones and bottles. Supporters had also reportedly taken knives into the stadium.

One Al Ahli player described the violence as war. “People are dying in front of us,” he said.

Military sources say army helicopters have been sent in to fly Al Ahli fans and players to safety.

It is the worst disasater in Egypt’s football history.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have accused supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak of being behind the violence.

State prosecutors have ordered an investigation into the pitch invasion and the riots that ensued, according to judicial sources.

Egypt’s parliament will hold an emergency session on Thursday, state media is reporting.

Reports say that all premier league matches have now been delayed indefinitely.

As news of the violence spread to Cairo, the referee of a match there halted proceedings, prompting fans to set parts of the stadium on fire.

Football violence in North Africa has increased significantly since political unrest began sweeping across the region more than a year ago.