Nine Egyptian deaths in Saudi Arabia hotel blaze: Foreign ministry

Ahram Online , Sunday 9 Feb 2014

Egyptian official says 9 Egyptians are among 13 pilgrims killed in a Saturday hotel blaze in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina

Correcting higher figures reported earlier by Saudi authorities, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Aty stated that nine Egyptians were among the 13 killed Saturday in a blaze at a Saudi hotel where hundreds of Muslim pilgrims were guests.

Sixty-one Egyptians, along with 136 others, were also injured when the fire broke out in the hotel in the western holy city of Medina where around 700 Muslim pilgrims were staying to perform Umrah, or minor pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

The deaths also include an Algerian and a Briton and were all caused by asphyxiation, Egyptian consul in the Saudi city of Jeddah Adel Alfy confirmed to Egyptian state-run agency MENA on Sunday.

Saudi authorities had earlier reported a higher death toll of 15 people in the fire.

For over two hours, rescue teams attempted to extinguish the fire, reportedly caused by an electrical short circuit. Survivors were evacuated and moved to a nearby hotel, SPA added.

Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, during a specific season once a year; Umrah, the minor pilgrimage, can be undertaken any time.


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