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Two fans shot dead as World Cup stadium is put to test

(Reuters) - Two soccer fans were shot dead on their way to a match at the Arena Castelao World Cup stadium in the northeastern Brazilian city of Fortaleza on Sunday, media reported.

The national Globo network's website (www.globo.com) cited police sources in their report that the two young men, fans of visiting team Ceara, were shot in the head from a passing vehicle allegedly carrying two Fortaleza supporters.

The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper (www.folha.uol.com.br) said Ceara fans started a fight by throwing stones at Fortaleza supporters, which sparked the shooting.

They said an unidentified man had been arrested in connection with the incident which occurred about five kilometers from the Arena Castelao and police carried out severe security checks at vantage points close to the stadium.

Ceara beat bitter rivals Fortaleza 1-0 in their Cearense state championship match in the Atlantic coast city, where the stadium had its first test for Confederations Cup.

The Confederations Cup, to be played by eight nations from June 15-30, is a dress rehearsal for the World Cup finals a year later in Brazil.

Folha quoted World Cup local organizing committee official Tiago Paes as saying the incident was not directly related to Sunday's match, which went smoothly with a crowd of about 15,000.

"There is a lot of training work by the military police, civil police and even the army. We don't have such concerns for the Confederations Cup," Paes said.

(Writing by Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires; Editing by John O'Brien)

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