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Fierce Sandstorm Sparks Eqyptian Fire

April 17, 2007

Egyptian fishermen try to catch fish in the Nile River during a sandstorm in Cairo. By Khaled Desouki/AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - At least two people were killed Tuesday in a fire fanned by a fierce sandstorm in Cairo which halted all flights at the main airport and delayed the arrival of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, a police source said.

Two died when the fire, triggered by a flame from a gas stove and fanned by strong winds, set some 50 homes ablaze in the village of Atalia in the Nile Delta governorate of Menufiyah, the source told AFP. Eight other people suffered burns.

The blaze swept through the village due to strong winds and the fact that roofs are often made of palm tree stems.

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