Currents News Staff
At least 15 children were among those killed in a church fire in Egypt’s Giza, according to Coptic Church spokesperson Archpriest Moussa Ibrahim.
The current death toll stands at 41 dead and 14 injured as per a statement from the church citing health officials. The church was crowded with worshippers attending Sunday Mass, Ibrahim said.
Church officials believe the fire was accidental, Ibrahim said. Egypt’s Coptic community and churches have been a target of religious-based violence and attacks historically, with persecution and discrimination spiking since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011.
The fire on Sunday was caused by an electrical failure in an air conditioning unit, the interior ministry said. The small church is located in the highly populated Imbaba neighborhood.
One priest was among those killed, Ibrahim said.
Egypt’s Public Prosecutor moved a team to the location and is still investigating the incident, the prosecution said in a statement.