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Train kills 24 on Egypt crossing

A cargo train has slammed into vehicles crossing the tracks in Egypt, killing at least 24 people, many from the same family returning from a wedding party, state TV said.

Medical emergency officials told Nile News TV that 28 people were injured and the number of dead could rise, although all victims have been cleared from the scene.

The head of the Giza security sector, Kamal el-Dali, told the TV station that most of the dead and injured were family members on a bus returning from a wedding in Cairo. The family had been heading to the southern city of Fayyoum. He said the train, which carried construction materials, also hit a small truck coming from the opposite direction.

Mr el-Dali said rescue teams remain at the scene.

A security official said the train was travelling from the southern city of Beni Suef when it hit at least three vehicles near the village of Dahshur, about 25 miles south of Cairo.

The head of Egypt's railway, Hussein Zakaria, told the TV station that initial reports indicated the crossing gates of the tracks had been closed and the train's driver was surprised to see vehicles still crossing.

"What could the guards have done? Stand in front of the bus?" Mr Zakaria said. "The initial reports show no negligence. We shall wait for the investigation."

Egypt is notorious for train collisions and has a poor safety record that is mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment.

A year ago, a train crashed into a bus, killing 51 children travelling to school in Assiut, 200 miles 320 kilometers south of Cairo. The transport minister and the head of the railways resigned following the accident.

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