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12-story building collapses in Egypt's Alexandria, at least 3 killed
Egyptian rescuers look for victims In the debris of a twelve story building after it collapsed in Alexandria, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 24, 2007. - photo by Associated Press

CAIRO, Egypt - A 12-story building collapsed Monday in Egypt's Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing at least three people, according to rescuers and the state-run news agency MENA.

Two women who were pulled from the debris suffered minor injuries, said rescue worker Abdullah Adel. He said the rescue operation would continue through the night in the eastern Al-Raml district of the city.

Civil defense workers had pulled three bodies out from under the rubble by Monday night, MENA said, quoting Brig. Gen. Nabil el-Zeni, the head of Alexandria's fire department.

Earlier Monday, a police official said at least five people died. It was not immediately known why the death toll decreased.

Police could not immediately explain the reason for the collapse but MENA cited Umaimah Salaheldeen, an official with Egypt's Housing Ministry, as saying the building "was erected without authorization ... more than 25 years ago." He it had been ordered to be torn down or renovated.

A police official said the building, built in 1978, originally had seven stories but that the five additional ones were built in recent years.

Buildings regularly collapse in Egypt, either as a result of deterioration with time or shoddy construction that fails to meet standards and regulations. Also, some owners tend to illegally add on more stories to buildings.

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