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12 Die in Zimbabwe Soccer Stampede

July 9, 2000

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Police fired tear gas at unruly fans during a World Cup qualifier Sunday between Zimbabwe and South Africa, setting off a stampede that killed 12 people.

``We have 12 bodies″ as a result of the soccer stampede, a police officer at Harare’s main hospital said on condition of anonymity.

A doctor said most of the deaths were from internal injures consistent with being crushed.

Anxious relatives waiting for news milled around outside Parirenyapwa hospital’s emergency ward, where numerous injured patients were being treated.

Fans hurled bottles and other items onto the field after South Africa scored its second goal in the 84th minute, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Police then fired tear gas at the crowd of more than 50,000. A stampede broke out as the fans scrambled to leave the National Sports Stadium. A fire hydrant was torn from its mountings, spraying water over fleeing fans.

Players writhed on the turf, choking and covering their faces in an attempt to getaway from the tear gas.

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