‘At least 41 people killed’ in fire at church in Egypt

World

At least 41 people have reportedly been killed in a fire at a church near Egypt’s capital, Cairo.

The number of dead was announced by the country’s Coptic Church, citing health officials.

Fourteen other people were reportedly injured.

An electrical fire broke out as 5,000 worshippers gathered for mass at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in the Imbaba neighbourhood, sources told the Reuters news agency.

The fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing a stampede, they said, adding that most of those killed were children.

“People were gathering on the third and fourth floor, and we saw smoke coming from the second floor,” said Yasir Munir, a worshipper at the church.

“People rushed to go down the stairs and started falling on top of each other.

More on Egypt

“Then we heard a bang and sparks and fire coming out of the window,” he said, saying he and his daughter were on the ground floor and able to escape.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi spoke by phone with the Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to offer his condolences, the president’s office said.

“I am closely following the developments of the tragic accident,” el-Sissi wrote on Facebook.

“I directed all concerned state agencies and institutions to take all necessary measures, and immediately to deal with this accident and its effects.”

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