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At least 18 people killed in building collapse in Cairo

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By Euronews with AP
Emergency workers sift through the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in the el-Salam neighborhood
Emergency workers sift through the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in the el-Salam neighborhood   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Mohamed Salah
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At least 18 people have been killed in a the collapse of a nine-story building in Cairo, according to Egyptian state media.

The building collapsed in the Egyptian capital early on Saturday.

State newspaper Al-Ahram said that search and rescue workers recovered the bodies over the course of the day.

Excavators could be seen digging through the debris in the el-Salam neighborhood on Saturday morning.

Police cordoned off the area, keeping back the curious and people apparently looking for relatives in the building.

“They took four people out in front of me, who looked like they were almost gone,” said Mohamamed Mostafa, a resident of the neighborhood.

At least 24 others were injured and taken to hospitals, according to a morning statement by Khalid Abdel-Al, the administrative head of Cairo governorate.

It was not immediately clear what caused the building's collapse.

An engineering committee was formed to examine the structural integrity of neighboring buildings, Abdel-Al said.

Building collapses are not uncommon in Egypt, where shoddy construction is widespread in shantytowns, poor city neighborhoods and rural areas.

With real estate at a premium in big cities like Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, developers seeking bigger profits frequently violate building permits.

Extra floors are often added without proper permits.

The government has recently launched a crackdown on illegal building across the country, jailing violators and in many cases destroying the buildings.