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Basque authorities launch investigation into death of soccer fan

Twenty-eight-year-old was possibly hit by police rubber bullet

An investigation is to be launched following the death of a 28-year-old man in the clashes that followed last week’s Europa League match between Athletic and Schalke 04 in Bilbao, regional interior chief Rodolfo Ares confirmed on Monday.

Iñigo Cabacas was injured in disturbances between soccer fans and the Ertzaintza, the Basque police force, after the game last Thursday. He died in hospital on Monday from head injuries sustained during the confrontations in María Díaz de Haro street, near San Mamés stadium. The regional interior department said that evening the Ertzaintza received several calls reporting an injured man in the area. When the police arrived at the scene they became the target of bottles and other objects, causing them to charge the crowd. After it had been dispersed they attended to Cabacas but could not ascertain if he had been the subject of the initial emergency calls or injured during the clash.

Doctors at the Basurto hospital could not confirm the cause of Cabacas’ injuries, but it is believed he was either struck by a rubber bullet fire by the Ertzaintza or fatally injured in the melee. A post mortem is due to take place to confirm the cause of death.

A protest was organized for 7pm on Monday at the location where the incident occurred. Cabacas’ family has said that he was not affiliated in any way to any political party or cause.

Ares promised the “serious incident” would be brought up in the regional parliament and said that a “rigorous and thorough” investigation was underway.

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