Five Egyptian Copts, including two teenage girls, were crushed to death at the tomb of their spiritual leader Pope Shenuda III who died last week, security officials told AFP.
A 13-year-old girl was among those who were killed at the St Bishoy monastery in Wadi Natrun, northwest of Cairo, where Shenuda was laid to rest.
Monastery officials had allowed visitors to visit Shenuda’s tomb, prompting a rush to the desert monastery.
“At least 5,000 people came to visit the tomb, and despite the security presence, the visitors began to push forward to enter the monastery,” an official said.
Five people were killed, including 13-year-old Myrna Gamal and a 16-year-old girl, Sandra Emad, the official said. Their bodies were taken to nearby hospitals.
Shenuda died on March 20 aged 88 after a long illness, leaving behind a community increasingly anxious about the rise of Islamism and political uncertainty.