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33 killed in Egypt bus crash
Updated: 2004-11-08 09:39

Thirty-three people were killed and 14 injured in Egypt when a truck crashed into a bus carrying pilgrims back home from the holy Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, police said.

The truck, towing a trailer full of sugar, was trying to overtake a car when it hit the bus head-on at full speed near Minya on the river Nile, some 150 (230 kilometres) miles south of Cairo.

According to an AFP correspondent at the scene of the crash, the left side of the bus had been completely smashed-in by the force of the impact.

Most of the victims were pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia after performing the minor Muslim pilgrimage, the Omra, as well as Egyptian workers coming back home from the country to mark the end of Ramadan.

The Egyptian press has expressed fury in recent days over the transport conditions for pilgrims performing the Omra, with several dozen pilgrims losing their lives on Egypt's roads so far during the current pilgrimage season.

Just three weeks ago, 14 Egyptians heading to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage were killed when their bus overturned near the Red Sea town of Hurghada, police said.

Egypt's roads are plagued by deadly accidents, with at least 6,500 people killed each year mainly owing to the poor condition of the roads and bad driving.

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