At least 41 killed in fire in Egyptian Coptic church, nursery

Fire kill at least 41 in Egyptian Coptic Church, Nursery, #Fire #Kills #Egyptian #Coptic #Church #Nursery Welcome to OLASMEDIA TV NEWSThis is what we have for you today:

CAIRO – At least 41 people were killed and 14 were injured when fire ripped through a Coptic church and nursery in the Egyptian city of Giza just as worshipers were gathering for Sunday services, authorities here said.

More than three dozen ambulances poured into the Imbaba district of Giza, the impoverished city on the west bank of the Nile River opposite Cairo, where Abu Sefein Church stands. Most of the victims had smoke inhalation, the Egyptian interior ministry said.

The fire started sometime before 9am, with authorities initially blaming an electrical failure in an air conditioning unit on the second floor of the church. The fire spread to the fourth floor, which houses a nursery, authorities said, without releasing the ages of the victims.

The authorities rule out malicious intent, but are investigating. A spokesman for the Church of Abu Sefein did not respond to requests for comment.

On Sunday, Chairman

Abdel Fattah Al Sisic

expressed condolences to the families of the victims and told the government to provide care for the injured.

Christians are a minority in Egypt, which is predominantly Muslim. Most Egyptian Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

While Christian leaders have been ardent supporters of Mr. Sisi, the community has also presented a challenge with a number of attacks by Islamic State militants who underlined the need for security improvements.

Authorities are primarily responsible for an electrical failure in an air-conditioning unit on the second floor of the church.

Photo:

Mahmoud El-Khawas/Zuma Press

Coptic activists and rights groups have criticized the government for obstructing Christian rights, closing church buildings and banning Copts from collective worship. Thousands of unlicensed churches have awaited legalization in recent years, according to rights groups, which have called on authorities to legalize the status of all churches and allow the reconstruction and renovation of church buildings.

According to state media, Egyptian authorities legalized 1,738 churches and service buildings between 2017 and 2020.

Authorities said they would pay the families of the victims of Sunday’s fire 50,000 Egyptian pounds, about $2,612, if the person they lost was the head of a household, the Ministry of Social Solidarity said. A payment of 25,000 Egyptian pounds would be given if the deceased was not the head of the family, she added.

Egypt’s Islamist institution Al-Azhar said it is considering providing financial aid to the victims of the fire.

Write to Chao Deng at [email protected]

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