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Egypt PM meets Al-Azhar students as crisis lingers

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil meets with Al-Azhar students as suspicions remain about cause of second food poisoning incident

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 May 2013
PM Qandil
Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil speaks at a press conference (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil met with Al-Azhar University students on Wednesday to discuss a second mass food poisoning incident on campus.

Qandil watched a video made by the students about deteriorating conditions at the university dormitories and heard about their problems.

Dozens of Al-Azhar students were hospitalised on Monday after eating at a campus cafeteria.

The incident was the second of its kind at Al-Azhar University this month. On 1 April, around five hundred students were hospitalised with food poisoning after eating in a cafeteria at the same campus.

Qandil, in conjunction with Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb, ordered that a committee be formed to look into the incidents and produce a report within three days.

Meanwhile, investigations are underway into a visit by members of the student union to the cafeteria's kitchen hours before the second incident on Monday.

Dozens of students forced their way into the kitchen and filmed and took photos without permission from the university's management, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported on Tuesday.

The incident was confirmed by an advisor to the university's president, Ali Abdel-Wahid, on ONTV satellite channel.

"We cannot blame the students or assume they caused the [food poisoning] incident," he said.

A report into the incident was submitted to the university management by a food supervisor who raised suspicions that the food might have been tampered with.

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