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Coptic Orthodox Church’s fire kills at least 41 people in Egypt

People react during the funeral of victims, who died due to the fire that broke out at the Abu Sefein Church, inside the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Warraq Al Arab district in Giza Government, Egypt, August 14, 2022. (Photo by Ziad Ahmed)

The fire at Coptic Abu Sefein Church in Giza, Egypt, killed at least 41 people at around 9 am on August 14.

Among them, 18 were children of 3 to 16 of age.

Egypt health officials said that at least 41 died and 14 were injured. 

Coptic Church spokesperson Archpriest Moussa Ibrahim told CNN, “A priest is among those killed.”

Citing a statement from prosecutor-general Hamada El Sawy, Ahram online news reported, "The prosecution team has examined all of the victims' bodies and found no visible injuries on the deceased bodies except suffocation signs."

More than five thousand people gathered for Sunday Mass at the Abu Sefein Church in Giza when the fire broke out.

The fire started on the second floor due to the electrical circuit shock from the air conditioner unit. 

The burnt Church by unknown via Twitter (Photo from egyptianstreets.com)

After hearing a loud bang, the blaze appeared on the second floor. The worshippers were in the church and rushed out of the church. The flame was at the entrance and blocked the people to go out. 

"People were gathering on the third and fourth floor, and we saw smoke coming from the second floor. 

People rushed to go down the stairs and started falling on top of each other," worshipper Yasir Munir told Reuters.

Munir added that he and his daughter were on the ground floor and able to escape.

According to the ministry, at least two officers and three civil protection service members were injured responding to the fire, 

BBC reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended his condolences to the families of the victims and directed the armed forces Engineering Authority to rebuild the church.

Coptic Christians are at least 10 million of 103 million population of Egypt.

Giza is located beside the Nile River in Egypt. - With the inputs from Vatican News, BBC, CNN, Ahram, and Reuters

 

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