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Four dead in Cyprus wildfire buried in Egypt

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Four Egyptian farm workers who died trying to escape Cyprus’ largest-ever wildfire on July 3 were buried in Egypt after their bodies were flown home.

Thousands of people gathered at the central Coptic church in Naseria village for their funerals on Sunday.

The governor of the region represented Egyptian authorities, MPs and other officials attended.

Cyprus was represented by its Ambassador in Cairo, Omiros Mavrommatis.

Archbishop of the local Coptic Church warmly thanked the Presidents of Egypt and Cyprus, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Nicos Anastasiades, for the solidarity they have expressed.

The bodies of the four men arrived on Saturday at Cairo airport.

Ambassador Mavrommatis and Ambassador Amr Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian assistant Foreign Minister for consular affairs, were present at the airport.

Mavrommatis expressed Cyprus` sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

Abbas paid tribute to Nicosia for its cooperation to complete procedures for identifying and transferring the bodies.

Cyprus will pay compensation to the families of the four Egyptian farm labourers who died in the island’s wildfire.

Last week, the cabinet approved a budget of over €5.2 mln to compensate people who lost their homes and businesses in the blaze, including families of the four Egyptians aged 24 to 36.

One of the Egyptians was a father of three, and another victim had four children.

Extending his condolences to their families, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said they would receive €95,000 each and an additional €30,000 for each child.

Nouris said provisions would also be made for the Egyptian victims’ children to be granted scholarships at higher education institutions in Cyprus when they finish school.

The deadly wildfire raged for two days before it was brought under control.

Fanned by strong winds, the blaze broke out Saturday and swept through southern parts of the Troodos mountain range before being reined in by water bombing by Greek and Israeli aircraft.

The fire, described as the worst since the independence of Cyprus in 1960, destroyed nearly 100 homes and businesses, damaged power lines and forced the evacuation of 10 villages.

The four Egyptians died trying to escape the village of Odos, where they worked on a tomato plantation.

A 67-year-old farmer was remanded in custody on suspicion of causing the blaze, a charge he has denied.