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Morsi’s Popularity Sinks After Crash Kills 51 Children on School Bus

A train hit a school bus, killing 51 children in Assiut, Egypt. President Morsi, after a surge in popularity for his response to his reaction to Israel’s attack on Gaza, has been widely criticized for his response to the tragedy, reports Mohannad Sabry in an Al-Monitor exclusive.
People gather at the site of a train crash in the city of Manfalut near Assiut, about 300 km (186 miles) south of Cairo, November 17, 2012. Fifty people, mostly children, were killed when a train slammed into a school bus as it crossed the tracks at a rail crossing south of Cairo on Saturday, further inflaming public anger at Egypt's shoddy transport network. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)

CAIRO — President Mohammed Morsi and his appointed cabinet of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil have been applauded by millions of Egyptians for their immediate, powerful, and all-in-all unprecedented chain-reaction to the Israeli attacks on the neighboring Gaza Strip. But the president’s rising popularity quickly plunged after a train crash killed 51 children in Upper Egypt on Nov. 17.

It took Morsi a few hours after an Israeli air strike killed Hamas’ military chief, Ahmed Al-Jabari, on Nov 14, to recall Egypt’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, order a full opening of the Rafah Crossing into Gaza, declare a state of emergency in all of North Sinai’s hospitals to receive injured Palestinians, and assign Qandil to lead an official delegation to the Gaza Strip despite the ongoing Israeli strikes that shattered the windows of Egyptian houses close to the border.

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