Egyptians blame military for deadly soccer riot

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Health ministry official Hisham Sheha said the deaths were caused by stabs by sharp tools, brain hemorrhage and concussions. "All those carried to hospitals were already dead bodies," Sheha told stat TV.

TV footage showed Al-Ahly players rushing for their locker room as fistfights broke out among the hundreds of fans swarming on to the field. Some men had to rescue a manager from the losing team as he was being beaten. Riot police stood by, appearing overwhelmed.

The Interior Ministry said 74 people died, including one police officer, and 248 were injured, 14 of them police. A local health official initially said 1,000 people were injured and it was not clear how severely. Security forces arrested 47 people for involvement in the violence, the statement said.

Essam el-Erian, a Brotherhood lawmaker, said the military and police were complicit in the violence, accusing them of trying to show that emergency regulations giving security forces wide-ranging powers must be maintained.

"This tragedy is a result of intentional reluctance by the military and the police," he said.

A number of political parties called on the Egyptian parliament to pass no-confidence vote against the government of el-Ganzouri, a Mubarak-era politician appointed by the much-criticized ruling military council.

Osama Yassin, head of sports committee in parliament, said the parliament holds the interior minister, who is in charge of police, responsible for the violence. He demanded ouster of the prosecutor general Prosecutor-General Mahmoud Abdel-Meguid to guarantee "transparent investigations."

The Ultras, meanwhile, accused the military council and former members of Mubarak's regime of retaliating against them for their role in the uprising last year against Mubarak and in anti-military protests since.

"They want to punish us and execute us for our participation in the revolution against suppression," the Ultras of Al-Ahly group said in a statement. It vowed a "new war in defense of our revolution."

The ultras have long been bitter enemies of the police. Their anti-police songs, peppered with curses, have quickly become viral and an expression of the hatred many Egyptians feel toward security forces that were accused of much of the abuse that was widespread under Mubarak's regime.

The stadium riot came on the one-year anniversary of one of the most violent days of the 18-day anti-Mubarak uprising. On Feb. 2 last year, in what became known as the "Battle of the Camel," Mubarak loyalists on camels and horses attacked protesters at Tahrir Square, leading to nearly two days of battles with rocks, firebombs and slabs of concrete.

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Associated Press writer Aya Batrawy contributed to this report.

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