A fire broke out Sunday in a Coptic Christian church in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, killing 41 people and injuring 14 others. The fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing a stampede; most of those killed were children.

Iran PressMiddle East: The blaze started for an electrical reason at the Abu Sifine church in Giza in the capital’s northwestern, working-class district of Imbaba.

The fire broke out as 5,000 worshippers gathered for mass at the Coptic Abu Sifin church, security sources told Reuters.

Fire services later said the blaze had been brought under control.

The exact cause of the fire is not clear.

Preliminary investigations said the high number of injuries in the fire was due to the presence of a nursery inside the Abu Sefein Church in the northern Egyptian governorate.

Giza lies just across the Nile from Cairo and is part of the Greater Cairo metropolis.

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 claim they face discrimination and play a lesser part in Egyptian public life than their numbers justify.


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