Salwa Abou Al-Naga, a prominent animal rights activist, died in a fire at her apartment on Monday in Cairo while trying to save her cats.
63-year old Salwa Abou Al-Naga suffocated while trying to rescue over 30 cats she was keeping in her apartment in Zamalek Monday afternoon as she and her friend Naglaa were caught up in the fire.
“Abou Al-Naga refused to leave her cats alone in the fire and tried to save as many as she could but unfortunately she died as she was doing so,” Dina Zulfikar, the famous animals rights activist told Ahram Online.
“Abou Al-Naga has been an animal rights defender since a long time ago in Egypt,” Zulfikar said of the deceased engineer.
After the fire, tens of animal rights activists including Zulfikar went to the apartment with vets in order to save the cats.
According to animal rights activists, most of the cats the late Abou Al-Naga kept were street cats she saved.
“No less than 15 cats were killed at first, while the other 15 suffered burns and are in critical condition,” Zulfikar told Ahram Online.
She added that the garage in Abou Al-Naga’s building turned into a makeshift veterinary clinic before the cats would be transferred to hospitals in Zamalek and other areas.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the fire started in Salwa Abou Al-Naga's balcony due to children playing with fireworks in the street, a common activity during the Eid festival.
Her brother Khaled Abou Al-Naga, a renowned Egyptian actor and political activist, mourned his sister on his official blog recounting how she was a basketball and handball champion.
Khaled knew that there was fire in his sister’s apartment even though he was in Greece, because a foreign journalist living across the street published a photo on Twitter of the balcony adjoining the apartment on fire.
The funeral of Salwa Abou Al-Naga was held earlier Tuesday in Cairo.
On social media, the news of Salwa Abou Al-Naga was received with immense sadness as a result of her sacrificing herself in order to save the cats.