October 2, 2022

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Security sources said at least 41 were killed in an Egyptian church fire

Security sources said at least 41 were killed in an Egyptian church fire
  • An electrical fire broke out during the liturgy
  • The church is located in Giza, near Cairo
  • At least 45 people were injured in the fire

CAIRO (Reuters) – At least 41 people were killed and 45 injured in a fire inside a church in the Egyptian city of Giza on Sunday, two security sources told Reuters.

The sources said that an electrical fire broke out shortly before nine in the morning (0700 GMT) during the mass as 5,000 people gathered at the Abu Seifen Coptic Church in the Imbaba neighborhood.

They added that the fire closed the entrance to the church, causing a stampede, adding that most of the dead were children.

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“People were gathering on the third and fourth floors and we saw smoke rising from the second floor. People rushed down the stairs and stared at each other,” said Yasser Munir, a worshiper at the church.

“Then we heard a spark and fire coming from the window,” he said, adding that he and his daughter were on the ground floor and could escape.

Electrical fires of this type are not rare in Egypt; In late 2020, a fire at a hospital treating COVID-19 patients killed at least seven people and injured several more.

Giza, the second largest city in Egypt, lies directly on the banks of the Nile from Cairo.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the innocent victims who died with their Lord in one of his places of worship,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in a tweet.

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Maher Murad said he left his sister in church after prayers.

“As soon as I moved 10 meters away from the church, I heard screaming and saw thick smoke,” he said.

“After the firefighters put out the fire, I recognized my sister’s body. All the charred bodies, many of them children, were in the church nursery room.”

(This story corrects the location at Point Al-Rasas to Giza, not Gaza)

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(Covering) Ahmed Mohamed Hassan Written by Nafisa Al-Taher and Michael Georgi Editing by David Goodman and Risa Kasulowsky

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.