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Minaret Collapses Killing 36 in Morocco

A minaret collapsed during Friday prayers at a crowded mosque in the old town of the historic Moroccan city of Meknes, killing 36 people and injuring 71 others, according to a Moroccan news agency.

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

King Mohammed VI sent the interior minister and religious affairs minister to Meknes, one of Morocco's four imperial cities, some 62 miles east of the capital Rabat.

The officials visited the injured, who had been taken to hospitals in Meknes, a UNESCO heritage city, and the nearby city of Fes. A team of psychologists also was sent.

The king has ordered the reconstruction of the mosque.

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