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49 kids killed as Egypt train slams into bus

Assiut (Egypt), Nov. 17 (AP): A speeding train crashed into a bus carrying Egyptian children to their kindergarten in central Egypt today, killing at least 49 and prompting a wave of anger against the government in Cairo.

Over 50 children between four and six years old were on board when the bus was hit, a security official said, adding that it appeared that the crossing was not closed as the train sped towards it. The crash is the worst such tragedy to hit the country since President Mohammed Morsi took office last summer.

Books, school bags and children’s socks were strewn along the tracks near the blood-stained, mangled bus near al-Mandara village in the central Assiut province. Parents of the missing wailed as they looked for signs of their children. An Associated Press reporter at the scene said many of the remains were unrecognisable.

A woman who called herself Um Ibrahim, a mother whose three children were on the bus, was pulling her hair in grief. “My children! I didn’t feed you before you left,” she wailed. A witness said the train pushed the bus along the tracks for nearly a kilometre.

As one man picked up pieces of shattered limbs he screamed: “Only God can help!” Two hospital officials said more than a dozen injured were being treated in two different facilities, many with severed limbs.

The carnage prompted grieving families to set up road blocks in the area, preventing Morsi’s Prime Minister from reaching the scene. Some burned logs and fired automatic rifles in the air in denunciation of Morsi, the AP reporter said.

Prime Minister Hesham Kandil was greeted by a jeering crowd as he arrived with a detachment of riot police at Assiut’s main hospital, where the injured were being treated. Residents complained that a lack of ambulances in the area had hindered hospitals’ response.

 
 
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