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Egyptian train derailment kills several

A train carrying Egyptian army recruits has derailed outside Cairo, killing several people. The tragic accident raises further doubts about Egypt's questionable transport safety record.

A military train derailed close to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Tuesday, killing 19 people and injuring at least 107, a Health Ministry official said.

"The Egyptian Ambulance Authority has sent 66 ambulance cars to the site of the accident to move the bodies of the injured and the corpses of the victims to hospitals," Health Ministry spokesman Ahmed Omar told Egyptian state news agency MENA.

The train had been traveling from southern Egypt to Cairo when two of its carriages derailed just after midnight as it passed through the neighborhood of Badashreen in Giza, according to officials. The vehicle had conscripted youths on board at the time.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi visited victims in the Cairo Military Hospital.

"This is a sad day for Egyptians," Morsi said. "I send my condolences to the families of martyrs who were on their way to fulfill their national duty and my prayers to the injured for speedy recovery."

The accident has sparked outrage over Egypt's transportation safety record. Hundreds of people staged a protest in Cairo's main railway station after the accident.

"Be happy Mubarak," protesters chanted, referring to the president ousted in 2011's January revolution. "Morsi is continuing in your tracks."

At a separate protest in the coastal city of Alexandria, police had to use tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who clashed with passengers when they tried to block trains from leaving the main station, a police official said.

"Egypt's real tragedy is not about the affiliation of its rulers but rather their inability to manage the country," said Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader.

Egypt's much-neglected roads and railways have a worrying safety record, and the country has witnessed several deadly accidents over the years. In November, nearly 50 children died when a train crashed into a school bus south of Cairo.

sej,dr/mkg (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)
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