updated 12/25/2007 3:05:13 PM ET 2007-12-25T20:05:13

The death toll in the collapse of a 12-story building rose to 23 on Thursday with the recovery of four more bodies from the rubble, a senior police official said.

Rescuers with dogs were continuing to search for four other people feared dead but there was little hope they would be found alive after Monday's collapse in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, said Maj. Gen. Kamal el-Dali, the head of the city police investigative division.

The local government had previously ordered the building, in the Loran suburb, to be demolished or renovated since it was built without permission more than 25 years ago, according to the state MENA news agency.

The building originally had seven stories, but five more were added in recent years. The authorities have not said what had caused the collapse.

Buildings regularly collapse in Egypt, either as a result of deterioration with time or shoddy construction that fails to meet standards and regulations. Also, some owners tend to illegally add on more stories, destabilizing the structure.

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