Cairo Coptic church fire kills 41 people

Church officials in Egypt’s capital city of Cairo say that a fire that broke out on Sunday in a Coptic Christian church resulted in the deaths of 41 people.

According to the officials, the fire started at the Abu Sifine church in the Imbaba neighborhood located in the far northwestern part of the capital city for reasons that are unknown.

On his official Facebook page, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made the following statement: “I have mobilized all state services to ensure that all measures are taken.”

Fire services later said 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, 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.

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