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Transport minister resigns over deadly train fire

Thursday 28 February 2019 03:22 AM

Hesham Arafaat
Hesham Arafaat

The Egyptian cabinet accepted on Wednesday the resignation of Transport Minister Hesham Arafat over the deadly train fire that killed at least 20 people, the Egyptian state TV reported.

Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said that Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly accepted Arafat's resignation, according to the report.

Earlier on Wednesday, a train locomotive crashed into the buffer stop at the end of rail tracks at the main railway station near Ramses square downtown the capital Cairo, causing a massive fire and leaving numerous casualties, according to the Egyptian railway authority.

A security source said that the heavy crash caused explosion of the train fuel tank and led to the blaze.

Doctors told Xinhua that most of the wounded are in critical conditions, sustaining second-or third-degree burns, while eyewitnesses at a hospital said the bodies were completely charred by the fire.

Madbouly went earlier to the crash scene accompanied by the then transport minister, as well as Health Minister Hala Zayed and Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali.

"There will be no leniency or complacency in holding those responsible for the accident accountable," Madbouly said at the station, stressing that "the era of keeping silent on those who fail to do their duties toward the Egyptian citizens is over."

The cabinet also ordered financial compensation of 80,000 Egyptian pounds (about 4,570 U.S. dollars) for each family of dead passengers and 25,000 pounds for each seriously wounded passenger with a consequent disability.