Cairo - The chairman of Egypt's National Sports Council, Hassan Saqr, denied Thursday that Egyptian fans attacked or injured Algerian football players in their bus in Cairo.
"We condemn any attempt to harm the Algerian team, and I think that the truth is not what news agencies had reported," Saqr was quoted by the official MENA news agency as saying.
"I do not think that any Egyptian football fan, who wants his national team to qualify for the World Cup, would do such an act. There is huge misunderstanding in this matter, and I must know what it is," Saqr said, adding that the investigation is under way to reveal the facts.
Samir Zaher, president of the Egypt Football Association (EFA), headed to where the Algerian team is staying to check on them and verify the reports, Saqr said.
Earlier Thursday, a source in EFA said that some players in the Algerian national football team were injured when their bus was attacked by Egyptian national team fans throwing stones.
The bus was attacked shortly after the Algerian team arrived in Cairo for Saturday's World Cup qualifier match, the source said, adding that the players were "slightly hurt" and there was nothing to worry about.
The bus had just left the airport and was heading to the hotel when some Egyptians attacked it, breaking the windows with stones, despite heavy security at Cairo airport.
Mohammed Rouaroa, head of the Algerian Football Association, decided to protest to FIFA, the international football governing body, against the Egyptian football fans and EFA, the source said.
EFA is waiting for the decision by FIFA officials, who were meeting to decide what action to take, the source said.
An Egyptian security source speaking on condition of anonymity denied the incident and said that Egyptian fans had not attacked the bus.
"We followed the transportation of the Algerian players from the airport to the hotel, which took place amid tight security," he said.
The source accused the Algerian team of "setting this up, especially that they had filed a complaint to the FIFA before and asked for observers to come to Cairo to follow up the preparation to the game."
"Some Algerian fans threw some fireworks, which angered the Egyptian fans who found that the windows of the bus cracked. Then, members of the Algerian team smashed the glass themselves, forced the driver to stop and called for an observer from the FIFA to take the necessary procedures," the security source alleged.
Egyptians and Algerians are gearing up for Saturday's match to determine which of the two countries qualifies for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Fans have waged an online war for more than a month.
In 1989, both countries played to qualify for the World Cup. Fans protested after Egypt won 1-0. Neither team has qualified for the World Cup since. (dpa)
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