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Egypt inquiry blame fans, police for stadium deaths

February 12, 2012 22:18
1 minute read.

CAIRO - An Egyptian parliamentary inquiry into the deaths of 74 people in a soccer stadium disaster has found both fans and lax security to blame for the worst incident of its kind in the country's history, the legislator leading it said on Sunday.

The preliminary findings of the inquiry into the Port Said deaths offered little to support the view of those Egyptians who believed the deaths were the result of a plot hatched by elements within the establishment seeking to create chaos.

Ashraf Thabet, the member of parliament who headed the inquiry, listed factors including incitement by sports TV channels as the cause of the incident which touched off several days of violent protests in which 16 more people were killed.

The incident occurred at the end of a match between Port Said-based al-Masry and Cairo's Al Ahly, the most successful club in Africa.

Witnesses to the Feb. 2 incident had said hundreds of al-Masry supporters surged across the pitch to the visitors' end causing panicked Ahly fans to dash for the exit. But the steel doors were bolted shut and dozens were crushed to death in the stampede. Many believe the incident was sparked by hired thugs.

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