An electrical fire broke out as 5,000 worshippers gathered for Mass at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in Giza, causing a stampede and killing at least 41 people, most of them children.
The fire started just before 9 a.m. in the Abu church where about up to 1,000 people had gathered.
The fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing the stampede. “People rushed to go down the stairs and started falling on top of each other,” said worshipper Yasir Munir.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said a forensic examination showed that the fire began in the second floor air conditioning as a result of an electrical malfunction.
Smoke inhalation was the main cause of death, according to reports. Families of those who died will receive 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($5,220), according to a government statement.
By Vivian Moraa