After a fire broke out at a church in Egypt, dozens of people perished, many of them were crushed in a hasty attempt to flee. According to authorities, there are at least 41 fatalities and several injuries. There may be children among the deceased.

At the Coptic Abu Sifin church in Giza, where 5,000 people had gathered for Mass, an electrical fire started, according to security sources, Reuters. The fire blocked an entrance and led to a stampede.

According to medical documents cited by CNN, 18 children between the ages of 3 and 16 were killed.

“Sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims who have passed away to be with their Lord in one of his sites of worship,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said and has given the military the go-ahead to rebuild the church.

The prosecutor’s office announced that a team had been dispatched to the location to look into what started the fire.

What you should know

  • Of Egypt’s 103 million citizens, at least 10 million are Coptic Christians.
  • Copts assert that they experience prejudice and have less influence on Egyptian public life than their relative numbers would indicate.
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