41 dead in blaze at Cairo Coptic church, officials say

A fire at a Coptic Christian church in the Egyptian capital killed at least 41 people, church officials say.

The blaze ripped through the church in Cairo’s densely populated neighborhood of Imbaba. It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze. An initial investigation blamed an electric short-circuit, police say.

Fifteen firefighting vehicles were dispatched to the scene to put out the flames while ambulances ferried the casualties to nearby hospitals.

Church officials say the blaze killed 41 people, while the health ministry says 55 people were injured.

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

Copts comprise about 10% of Egypt’s primarily Muslim population.

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