At least 35 were killed and 45 others were injures as a result of a fire inside a church in the city of Giza in Egypt, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing security sources.
The sources told the media that 5,000 worshipers were in the church in the Imbaba neighbourhood of the Egyptian city, when the fire broke out, prompting a stampede.
The health ministry sources told Egypt’s newspaper Al-Ahram that at least 41 people died in the blaze, while 14 sustained injuries.
According to the media, the deadly incident occurred in the Abu Sefein Coptic church. Health Ministry Spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told the newspaper that 30 ambulances were dispatched to the scene.
The country’s interior ministry said that the fire was caused by an electrical failure in an air conditioner on the second floor of the church.
“The air conditioner on the second floor of the church building, which houses a number of classrooms, got on fire due to an electrical fault that resulted in the release of large amounts of smoke, the primary cause of the deaths,” the ministry said in a statement.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Sisi expressed his condolences for the victims of the blaze in a phone call with the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian denomination in the predominantly Muslim Egypt.