Prison fire in Tunisia leaves 42 dead; cause unclear

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 15, 2011 14:38

 
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TUNIS, Tunisia  — A coroner on Saturday said that 42 people died in a fire at a prison in a Tunisian coastal resort town as unrest sweeps the North African country after its longtime president was forced out by protests.

Tarek Mghirbi, a coroner in the resort city of Monastir, said 42 bodies were brought to his office. He said all the victims appeared to have either burned to death or to have suffered smoke inhalation. He said the cause of the prison fire was unclear.

Massive street protests over corruption and unemployment forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country Friday night after 23 years of iron-fisted rule. In the last 24 hours, unrest, looting and arson have erupted.

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