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Egypt recalls envoy from Algeria over soccer violence

The move follows attacks on Egyptian fans after Algeria's victory in a World Cup qualifying match in Sudan.

November 20, 2009|By Amro Hassan
  • Soccer fans call for Algerians to leave Egypt at a demonstration in front of the Algerian embassy in Cairo.
Soccer fans call for Algerians to leave Egypt at a demonstration in front… (Associated Press )

Reporting from Cairo — Egypt has recalled its ambassador to Algeria after Egyptian soccer fans were attacked by their Algerian counterparts following the two countries' playoff match in Sudan in the 2010 World Cup qualifications, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

The incident comes days after the Egyptian government summoned Algeria's ambassador to Cairo, Abdel Qader Hadjar, to explain violence against Egyptians living in Algeria in the days leading up to Wednesday's crucial match in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, which Algeria won, 1-0.

Hadjar was summoned again Thursday, hours before a decision was issued to recall Egypt's ambassador for "consultations." The Foreign Ministry said Hadjar was informed of "Egypt's extreme displeasure with the assaults on Egyptian citizens who went to Khartoum to support the Egyptian team."

"Egypt also expressed its outrage and its denunciation after continuing reports and many appeals from Egyptian citizens residing in Algeria over the assaults and intimidation they face," the statement said.

Algeria's victory gave it a berth in the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa. But the game was marred by tensions as Egyptian supporters and celebrities who accompanied their national team phoned satellite television channels for help, describing how tough it was to leave the stadium amid assaults by Algerian fans.

Some Egyptians said they were forced to seek shelter in Sudanese homes and villas until the situation calmed down. Egyptian Health Minister Hatem El Gabaly said Thursday that 21 Egyptians were injured in the post-match assaults.

The soccer violence started Saturday before an earlier match, when Egyptians hurled stones at a bus carrying Algerian players from a Cairo airport. Three players were injured.

Hassan works in The Times' Cairo Bureau.

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