Egypt burning: football violence kills 73
At least 73 people were killed Wednesday in fan violence after a football match in the city of Port Said, the health ministry said, as Egypt struggled with a wave of incidents linked to poor security.
"The death toll, as a result of the unrest after the match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masri, has reached 73," deputy health minister Helmy al-Efni said.
A security official said the violence erupted as soon as the referee blew the final whistle. Fans of Al-Masri, which beat Al-Ahly 3-0, invaded the pitch and began to throw rocks, bottles and fireworks at the Al-Ahly fans.
Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who took power when veteran president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising in February, has sent two military planes to Port Said to fly out the players and the injured, state television reported.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest political force, accused Mubarak supporters of instigating the football violence.
"The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime," said MP Essam al-Erian in a statement on the Islamist group's Freedom and Justice Party website.
Medics said some of the deaths were the result of stab wounds and that the death toll could rise even further as ambulances continued to ferry in the injured from the stadium.
Shops in the northern city of Port Said, which sits at the entrance to the Suez Canal, shut their doors as private cars helped to shuttle the injured across the city to hospitals.
Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmud has ordered an immediate investigation into the violence, state television reported.
Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, a member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, said that the People's Assembly would hold an emergency session on Thursday at 11:00 AM (0900 GMT) to discuss the violence.
Newly elected liberal deputy Amr Hamzawi has called for the immediate sacking of the interior minister as well as the governor and security chief of Port Said.
State television broadcast footage of chaos on the pitch, with fans running in all directions, as photos of bleeding players circulated on the Internet.
Gunfire was also reported on the main road leading to Port Said from Cairo.
In the capital itself, a fire broke out at Cairo Stadium during the first half of a match between Zamalek and Ismaili clubs, prompting officials to cancel the fixture.
Emergency services managed to bring the blaze under control, a security official said.
Since last February's ouster of Mubarak, Egypt has seen sporadic and sometimes deadly unrest coupled with a sharp rise in crime, linked to the scarcity of the unpopular police, who were heavily criticised for their crackdown on protesters during the uprising.
Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen raided a money transfer company in Cairo, state news agency MENA reported, bringing to five the number of armed robberies in less than a week in a country previously unaccustomed to such incidents.
In the capital, with its population of 20 million, crimes such as car theft have also became more widespread over the past 12 months.