A riot outside a major football match in Egypt has killed at least 25 people, authorities have said.The violence came ahead of a game between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI at the Air Defense Stadium east of the capital, Cairo.
Security officials, speaking anonymously as they weren’t authorised to talk to journalists, said some people died during a stampede, while others were killed in clashes with police.
Security officials said Zamalek fans tried to get into the game without tickets, sparking clashes.
One witness said: “We were inside the stadium when the clashes began outside.
“There was a police car on fire and they were shooting birdshot and tear gas.
“The people fled into the desert to escape,” they added.
At least another 25 people were wounded, with many suffering broken bones and bruising, the health ministry said in a statement, according to state news agency MENA.
Zamalek fans, known as “White Knights”, posted on their group’s official Facebook page that the violence started because the authorities only opened one narrow, barbed-wire door to let them in.
They said this sparked pushing and shoving and later police officers fired tear gas and birdshot.
The group later posted pictures it claimed were of dead fans and the names of 22 people it said had been killed.
The images could not immediately be verified.
The state prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the violence, according to a statement from his office.
It said fans had blocked a road to the stadium and torched three police vehicles.
Despite the violence, the match continued, sparking further outrage among the fans.
The Egyptian Premier League has been suspended indefinitely, the prime minister’s office said in a statement, which accused fans of trying to storm the stadium and attacking police.
Hardcore fans, known as Ultras, often clash with police inside and outside of stadiums.
Many of them participated in the 2011 uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Fans have only recently been allowed at matches again, and the Interior Ministry planned to let only 10,000 fans into the ground, which has a capacity of around 30,000.
The deadliest football riot in Egyptian history happened three years ago during a match between Port Said’s al Masry and Cairo’s al Ahly.
A total of 74 people, most of them al Ahly fans, were killed.