A 17-year-old girl died at a private hospital reportedly during a genital mutilation operation. The incident is being investigated by prosecutors, health ministry officials said on Sunday (29 May).

The victim died at El Canal hospital in Suez province under full anaesthesia, said Lotfi Abdel-Samee, under secretary at the health ministry.

"This is something that the law has prohibited," he stressed. On 30 May, authorities shut down the hospital after transferring the remaining patients to other hospitals as prosecutors questioned the medical staff and the hospital manager, said Abdel-Samee.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) was banned in Egypt in 2008. According to media reports, it is still widely practiced in Nile Basin countries and Africa, despite a ban. The procedure involves the removal of the clitoris or both clitoris and Labia Minora.

Daily News Egypt, said that the girl went along with her sister to the hospital to undergo the operation. While her sister survived, the victim suffered complications that caused severe bleeding which eventually led to her death.

Medical examiners have carried out an autopsy, and are due to report the cause of death, the health ministry official said.

The mother of the girls is a nurse, while their late father was a surgeon. The girls' family told a inspector from the health ministry that they went to the hospital to remove a sebaceous cyst on her uterus.

However, the health inspector told a state-run newspaper that the autopsy results show that the injuries the girl sustained had nothing to do with the removal of a cyst, Daily News Egypt reported.

The United Nations said in a statement on 30 May, "There is still a long way to go to eliminate this harmful practice which violates women's and girls' rights and has long lasting physical and psychological implications."

A report last year, by United Nations regarding FGM, said: "The latest figures from the Egypt Demographic and Health Survey show that we're winning. Mothers' attitudes are changing, too."

According to the report, while 92% of mothers have undergone the procedure, only 35% of them "intend to circumcise their daughters".

Victims of FGM are often left to cope with consequences of the procedure, which includes bleeding and pain while urinating, extreme discomfort during sex, complications during childbirth and psychological trauma.

Female Genital Mutilation
A young woman walks past a campaign banner against female genital mutilation [FGM] at the venue of an International conference. Getty Images