First Published: 2013-01-15

 

19 killed in Egypt train derailment

 

Train carrying military recruits derails in Giza neighbourhood of Badrasheen, highlighting Egypt’s chronic transport disasters.

 

Middle East Online

By Khaled Dessouki - CAIRO

It is the fifth deadly train accident since Morsi was sworn in as Egypt's President

A train carrying military conscripts derailed southwest of Cairo on Tuesday, killing 19 people and wounding 107, the health ministry said, highlighting the country's chronic transport problems.

The train was taking young recruits from south Egypt to a military camp in Cairo when two carriages went off the rails shortly after midnight in the Giza neighbourhood of Badrasheen, officials said.

More than 60 ambulances were sent to the site of the accident, where rescuers were working to extract survivors and bodies from the twisted heap of metal on the side of the rails.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandeel was met with howls of outrage when he arrived at the scene, with local residents shouting, "You have blood on your hands, Mr. Hesham." His security quickly whisked him away, an AFP photographer said.

The injured have been taken to local hospitals for treatment, the health ministry said.

The accident is the latest in a string of transport disasters plaguing Egypt, and comes just two weeks after a new transport minister was appointed.

According to media reports, it is the fifth deadly train accident since President Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as Egypt's first Islamist president in June.

Morsi's tenure so far has been marked by political divisions over the role of religion in politics and freedoms, but the latest accident is a further test of how his government will deal with Egyptians' everyday problems.

In a message on Twitter, the president's Muslim Brotherhood said "sincere condolences go out to the families of the victims of the horrific train crash in Badrasheen, we pray for speedy recovery of the injured."

The spokesman of the armed forces also sent condolences on his official Facebook page.

Transport minister Hatem Abdel Latif, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said an investigation will be launched into the accident.

"We have to admit that the railway system is decaying. We will carry out investigations to know whether the accident happened because of defects in the train or rails or because of other reasons," Abdel Latif was quoted as saying by the state owned Al-Ahram website.

In November, nearly 50 school children were killed when a train smashed into their bus in central Egypt after a railway signal operator fell asleep, prompting protests and resignations.

The railway network's poor safety record stems largely from lack of maintenance and poor management. In Egypt's deadliest railway tragedy, the bodies of more than 360 passengers were recovered from a train after a fire in 2002.

Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to deal with the country's transport problems, with roads as poorly maintained as railway lines.

 

Turkey mulls military action against jihadists on its doorsteps

Palestinians to UN: Israel occupation must end in 2016

Assad: Countries that backed terrorism can't defeat jihadists

Retired US general says Syria rebel training could 'take years'

Foreign jihad lures Tunisia youth: About 3,000 in Syria alone

Gazans turn war remains into art objects

Skeptical Netanyahu seeks Obama reassurances on Iran

Turkey pushes for long-term solution to ‘Islamic State’ crisis

Metamorphosis of Salim Benghalem: From weed-smoking clubber to US-wanted jihadist

Violence across Iraq kills at least 1,119 people in September

Bahrain court lifts travel ban on Maryam al-Khawaja

Israel, Palestinians agree on one thing: Futility of peace talks

Netanyahu to Ban Ki-moon: Probe into Gaza war ‘one-sided’!

Kurds battle to defend strategic border town in Syria

Iran Nobel laureate questions Tutu's silence on Dalai Lama visa row

Iraqi Kurds hope US-led air strikes can break stalemate

Libya militants vow to continue ‘military operations’

Argentine President charges US could kill her

IS jihadists close in on Turkish border

US troops to return to Mideast

Israel settlers forcefully occupy 25 homes in East Jerusalem

Gunmen wound Saudi policeman in Shiite village in Eastern Province

Erakat likens Netanyahu to leader of ‘Islamic State’

Voters to choose among 27 candidates in Tunisia presidential race

Iran offers military equipment to Lebanon army

Iran extends compulsory military service to 2 years

Frustration grows over Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

US-led air strikes pound ‘Islamic State’ near Syria border town

Britain plans action against extremism ‘in all its forms’

Vigilante groups terrorise Syria refugees in Lebanon

Kurd troops launch offensive on IS on three fronts

Balkans clamp down on jihadist recruitment

Syrian refugees try their luck in Latin America

Indian PM warns US to repeat Iraq 'mistake' in Afghanistan

Israel PM warns Iran poses gravest threat to world

Kuwait strips 18 nationals of citizenship

Ahead of Tunisia elections, Ghannouchi appeals for US support

Israel deploys extra forces as two faiths mark major holy days

Egypt, Libya plunge in good governance rating

Saudi Arabia breaks silence on Huthi occupation of Yemen capital

Air strikes fail to halt advance of IS jihadists in Syria

Rival Libya factions meet for reconciliation talks

Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks ‘to resume’ by mid-October

HRW criticises human rights rollback under Erdogan

Syria's Nusra Front chief warns to transfer battle to West