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A massive fire outbreak that had broken out on Sunday in a Coptic Christian church in Egypt’s capital Cairo has left a total of 41 people dead as was reported by church officials said.
The blaze had been started for unknown reasons at the Abu Sifine church in the capital’s northwestern, working-class district of Imbaba, officials said.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared on his Facebook page that “I have mobilised all state services to ensure that all measures are taken”
Fire services in the country had later announced that the blaze had been brought under control.
Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East, making up at least 10 million of Egypt’s 103 million people. The minority has suffered attacks and complained of discrimination in the majority Muslim north African country, the Arab world’s most populous.
Copts have suffered reprisals from Islamists, particularly after Sisi overthrew former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, with churches, schools and homes burnt down.
Sisi, the first Egyptian president to attend the Coptic Christmas mass every year, recently appointed a Coptic judge to head the Constitutional Court for the first time in history.
Egypt has suffered several deadly fires in recent years. In March 2021, it had also been reported that at least 20 people died in a blaze in a textile factory in the eastern suburbs of Cairo. In 2020, two hospital fires claimed the lives of 14 Covid-19 patients.
In another report, the death toll from a massive fire that ripped through a Thai nightclub rose to 15 on Saturday, a rescue service has revealed.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the fire broke out around 1:00 am (1800 GMT Thursday) at the Mountain B nightspot in Chonburi province’s Sattahip district, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of Bangkok.
The Sawang Rojanathammasathan Rescue Foundation said Saturday that another man had died, taking the death toll to 15.
Most of the others who died — four women and 10 men — were found crowded by the entrance and in the bathroom, their bodies severely burned, the service said.
They were aged between 17 and 49. All are believed to be Thai.
Some relatives of the victims have travelled to Bangkok to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones after examination by forensic experts.