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Egypt transport minister resigns over train crash

Onlookers gather at the scene of a train accident at al-Ayyat in Girzah district, south of Cairo, October 24, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s transport minister resigned on Tuesday over a train crash south of Cairo which killed 18 people on Saturday, officials and the state news agency said.

“President Hosni Mubarak has accepted the resignation of Transport Minister Mohamed Mansour .. in which he bears the responsibility over the crash,” MENA said.

Two passenger trains collided when a first class train, filled with passengers, rammed into a mostly empty stationary train on the same track. At least two carriages were destroyed.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif confirmed Mansour’s resignation and told Reuters: “I have just been informed that the president has accepted the resignation.”

Nazif said the resignation came in response to the railway crash.

A series of road and rail accidents in Egypt in recent years has triggered an outcry over the government’s handling of transport safety.

Saturday’s accident took place in al-Ayyat district, which in 2002 was the scene of Egypt’s worst rail disaster when fire ripped through seven carriages of an overcrowded passenger train, killing at least 360 people.

A train crash in northern Egypt killed 44 people in 2008, two years after another killed 58 people.

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