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Iraqi Soccer Fan Shoots Player Dead

March 19, 2009

Baghdad (Iraq) – An Iraqi soccer fan shot dead a player of the opposing team as he tried to score an equalizing goal in the final minutes of a match, police said Monday.

The shooting Saturday in Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, during a match between local teams, underscored thestory country’s propensity to lawlessness even as violence by militant groups falls to lows not seen since mid-2003.

“As soon as Haider Kadhim (the player) was alone in front of the goalkeeper and close to equalizing, a fan in the crowd fired a pistol at him,” a senior police officer in Hilla, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

“We arrested this fan immediately but unfortunately the player died.”

Iraqis love soccer and have often expressed hope the game would help reconcile warring ethnic groups and sects.

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