36 die as mosque minaret collapses

Thirty-six people died and 71 were injured when a minaret collapsed during Friday prayers at a crowded mosque in the old town of the historic Moroccan city of Meknes.

Officials blamed the accident on heavy rain that had weakened the minaret at the Bab Berdieyinne Mosque, according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry.

King Mohammed VI sent the interior minister and religious affairs minister to Meknes, a UNESCO heritage city and one of Morocco’s four imperial cities, some 60 miles east of the capital Rabat.

The officials visited some of the injured at hospitals in Meknes. The more seriously injured were taken to hospitals in the nearby city of Fes. A team of psychologists was also sent.

Officials said hospitals had released 51 people, but were still treating 20.

The king ordered the reconstruction of the 400-year-old mosque.


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