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40 killed, scores injured in Egypt train collision

CAIRO - Two passenger trains collided on the outskirts of the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Friday, killing 40 people and injuring 126 others, official sources said.

A statement from the Cabinet Operations Room said the numbers could increase after all the wreckage of the trains had been lifted.

The injured were transported to hospitals in Alexandria and the neighbouring province of Beheira, said Khaled Megahed, a spokesman for the Egyptian Health Ministry.

"A state of emergency is in place in hospitals in Alexandria and Beheira," he added.

The collision occurred when a passenger train en route from Cairo to Alexandria rammed into the rear of another coming from the Suez Canal city of Port Said, newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.

State television reports showed pictures of bodies covered with bed sheets at the site. Footage showed that some of the carriages had derailed as a result of the collision.

Senior government officials, including the ministers of transport and health, arrived at the site of the accident and oversaw the evacuation the victims, state media reported.

The country's chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, ordered an urgent probe into the accident.

The Mediterranean city of Alexandria is a popular summer resort.

Friday's accident took place less than a month before Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim festival during which Egyptians usually depend on trains to travel to their hometowns for family reunions.

In recent years, Egypt has seen several rail tragedies.

In November 2012, 49 people, including 44 children, were killed when a school bus collided with a train in southern Egypt.

The country's worst rail disaster took place in 2002 when a train heading to southern Egypt caught fire, killing more than 360 people.

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