Newspaper headquarters attacked and stormed, Ultras deny involvement

Ahram Online, Saturday 9 Mar 2013

Unknown assailants storm and attempt to torch the headquarters of Al-Watan newspaper; hardcore football fans deny responsibility amid rumours

The Cairo headquarters of the privately owned Al-Watan newspaper were torched by unknown assailants early Saturday.

The newspaper's website said that at around 3am, about 40 people gathered in front of the newspaper's office in downtown Cairo, setting fire to the building's entrance and then storming and vandalising the paper's offices, causing "severe" property damage.

The website confirmed that there were no casualties in the attack and that the fire was quickly controlled by firefighters.

After the storming of the newspaper's offices, rumours circulated that the perpetrators belonged to the Ultras Ahlawy football fan group — that they attacked the newspaper for publishing a news story about the hardcore supporters meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood's second-in-command, Khairat El-Shater, ahead of a contentious verdict in the Port Said football disaster trial.

At least 74 Ultras members were killed 1 February 2012 in after-match violence in Port Said following a football game between Cairo's Al-Ahly club and local Al-Masry club.

Members of the Ultras, hundreds of which gathered in front of Al-Ahly club Saturday morning ahead of the verdict, denied to Ahram Online any relation to the storming of Al-Watan's offices.

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