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Egypt rail crash workers jailed

Eight Egyptian railway workers have been convicted over a train crash that killed 18 people in October reports the BBC.

Sentences handed down ranged from three to seven years for manslaughter and negligence.

The accident happened near the town of al-Ayyat, south of Cairo when a passenger train ploughed into a stationary train.

The country's rail network has a long history of accidents. Egypt's transport minister resigned after the crash.

The driver of the stationary train unexpectedly stopped it after hitting a buffalo. He was sentenced to seven years.

A blood sample given by the driver contained traces of hashish, Egyptian officials said.

The driver of the other train received a five-year sentence. The assistant drivers and a signalman were also sentenced.

Lawyers for the defendants said they would appeal against the sentences.

The government has been criticised over its transport safety record after a spate of road and rail accidents.

The deadliest train accident in Egypt's recent history also took place at al-Ayyat in 2002, when a fire killed at least 360 people.

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