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Egypt: At least 41 dead in Giza Coptic church fire

Picture Courtesy: Getty Images

An electrical fire broke out as 5,000 worshippers gathered for Mass on Sunday at the Coptic Abu Sifin church. According to officials, at least 41 people are feared dead, many of them crushed during a desperate scramble to escape.

The fore broke out at the entrance causing stampede. The fire department said that the fire was under control now. The exact cause of the fire is, however, still unknown. Father Farid Fahmy, from another nearby church in the Imbaba neighbourhood, told the AFP news agency that it was caused by a short circuit.

Father Farid Fahmy said, “The power was out and they were using a generator. When the power came back, it caused an overload.”

Yasir Munir, a worshipper, told Reuters, “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. Then we heard a bang and sparks and fire coming out of the window.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered his "sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims that have passed on to be with their Lord in one of his houses of worship”. The prosecutor's office said that they have sent an official team at the location to investigate the exact cause of the incident.

Giza lies just across the Nile from Cairo and is part of the Greater Cairo metropolis.

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