41 killed in Morocco minaret collapse

Scores of people also injured after minaret collapses at crowded mosque in Meknes

  • Mosque collapse
    People have spoken out about the apparent lack of maintenance of an 18th-century mosque in central Morocco, a Image Credit: AP
  • Mosque collapse
    Rescuers ended their search midday in the central city of Meknes, concluding all the victims buried in the rubImage Credit: AP
  • Mosque collapse
    The bodies of the dead were handed over to families for immediate burial.Image Credit: AP
  • Mosque collapse
    The minaret fell onto a crowded mosque during prayers on Friday in the city of Meknes, a Unesco heritage site Image Credit: AP
  • Mosque collapse
    Officials blamed the accident on heavy rain that weakened the minaret at the Bab Berdieyinne Mosque, accordingImage Credit: AP
  • Mosque collapse
    In this frame from TV, rescuers are at the scene after a minaret collapsed during Friday prayers at a crowdedImage Credit: AP/2MTV via APTN
  • Mosque collapse
    In this frame from TV, rescuers carry a victim after a minaret collapsed during Friday prayers at a crowded mImage Credit: AP/2MTV via APTN

Meknes: Criticism has mounted over the apparent lack of maintenance of an 18th-century mosque in central Morocco, a day after its minaret collapsed, killing 41 people and injuring 76 others.

Rescuers ended their search midday in the central city of Meknes, concluding all the victims buried in the rubble had been accounted for.

The bodies of the dead were handed over to families for immediate burial.

Authorities blocked off access to the Bab Berdieyinne mosque, located in Meknes.

Meanwhile the country's monarch Mohammad VI ordered an urgent appraisal of all the country's old mosques, after which "the necessary measures will be taken," the interior ministry said in a statement.

King Mohammed has already ordered the reconstruction of the minaret "keeping to its original form."

Some residents have asked why the mosque had not been renovated like other neighbourhood landmarks.

Activist Younes Chaker said the minaret figured in a list of some 520 buildings described in a municipal survey as needing immediate renovation. "What happened to the budget set aside for this work?" Chaker asked.

The minaret fell onto a crowded mosque during prayers Friday in the city of Meknes, a Unesco heritage site and a walled city that is a maze of winding narrow streets.
 
A day after the accident, a police officer with a sniffer dog patrolled the site, but the main search operations appeared to have to have wrapped up. The falling tower toppled onto about three-quarters of the mosque, leaving behinds piles of rubble and sand.

Officials blamed the accident on heavy rain that weakened the minaret at the Bab Berdieyinne Mosque, according to an official Interior Ministry release.

The king said after the collapse that the mosque, built under Sultan Moulay Ismail, who ruled in the 17th and 18th centuries and made Meknes his capital, would be rebuilt.

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