Two killed and six injured in Egypt train crash

Accident occurred in crowded residential area of Cairo

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A freight train ploughed into a minibus in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Monday night, killing two passengers and injuring six, the Health Ministry said.

The accident took place in the southern Cairo suburb of Helwan.

The state-owned Railway Authority said the minibus was one of two parked “too close” to the rail line in a crowded residential area

The train smashed into one and grazed the other, the authority said.

Monday’s crash was the first deadly train accident since April when a train slammed into a lorry on a level crossing in the Red Sea city of Suez, killing the lorry driver and injuring his assistant.

The Suez accident was the latest in a series over a month, in which at least 43 people were killed and hundreds injured.

The accidents highlighted Egypt’s struggling railway sector, making it the centre of a national debate amid calls for severe punishment of those responsible.

Initial findings by prosecutors into the causes of the accidents in March and April have revealed criminal negligence, corruption and the use of drugs by rail workers on duty.

Arrests have been made, with some railway officials now facing charges of manslaughter.

Apart from hundreds of accidents a year – many of them too minor to be reported by local media – the debt-ridden service is plagued by delays, overcrowding and technical glitches.

Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir says there are plans to spend 225 billion Egyptian pounds ($14.37bn) until 2024 on overhauling the country’s rail service.