Morocco minaret collapse death toll rises to 41   2010-02-20 20:05:52 FeedbackPrintRSS

RABAT, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Death toll from a collapse of a mosque minaret during a Friday prayer in northern Morocco rose to 41, a civil protection official told Xinhua on Saturday.

This image by Agence Maghreb Arab Presse (PH MAP) shows people removing rubble after the minaret of a mosque collapsed during weekly Friday prayers in Morocco's central town of Meknes. A 400-year-old minaret collapsed Friday on worshipers in Meknes, Morocco, killing 36 and injuring 71, the official news agency Maghreb Arabe Presse reported, citing the Interior Ministry.(Xinhua/AFP)

The minaret and part of the ceiling of the 16th-century Khnata bent Bekkar mosque, also known as Bab Berdieyinne, in the old city of Meknes broke down onto the courtyard when worshippers were about to perform the Friday prayer.

The number of injured people also rose to 72, Meknes civil protection chief al-Elwi al-Ismaili said.

According to state-run MAP news agency, King Mohammed VI sent interior and Islamic affairs ministers to the scene to "supervise rescue operations and enquire after the conditions of the injured. "

The monarch also ordered the re-building of the mosque as soon as possible, the agency said.

As officials say the collapse was caused by heavy rains that hit the country over the past few days, the Moroccan king was reported to issue orders to examine all centuries-old mosques across the country.

The screen grab shows that rescuers are searching for survivors at the site of the collapsed mosque.(Xinhua/AP)

Upon the king's orders, the interior ministry formed local committee in all the country's provinces, comprising local authorities, Islamic Affairs ministry officials and engineering experts, to inspect all the historic mosques in the kingdom, MAP said.

Editor: Deng Shasha
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