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Fire At A Wedding Party Killed 100, Injured 150 In Iraq

People gather at the site following a fatal fire at a wedding celebration, in the district of Hamdaniya in Iraq’s Nineveh province, Iraq, September 27, 2023. (photo credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL-MOUSILY)

More than 100 people have been killed and 150 injured in a fire at a wedding party in Hamdaniya district in Iraq’s Nineveh province.

The incident has left civil defense searching the charred skeleton of a building for survivors into the early hours of Wednesday.

Nineveh Deputy Governor Hassan al-Allaq told Reuters that 113 people had been confirmed dead, with state media putting the death toll at least 100, with 150 people injured.

The fire ripped through a large events hall in the north-eastern region after fireworks were lit during the celebration, local civil defense said, according to state media.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry said it had issued four arrest warrants for owners of the wedding hall, state media reported, and President Abdul Latif Rashid called for an investigation.

“We saw the fire pulsating, coming out of the hall. Those who managed got out and those who didn’t got stuck,” said Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who escaped the inferno.

Video from a Reuters correspondent at the site showed firefighters clambering over the charred wreckage of the building, shining lights over smoldering ruins.

Preliminary information indicated that the building was made of highly flammable construction materials, contributing to its rapid collapse, state media said.

Ambulances and medical crews were dispatched to the site by federal Iraqi authorities and Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, according to official statements.

Eyewitnesses at the site said the building caught fire at around 10:45 p.m. local time (1945 GMT) and that hundreds of people were in attendance at the time of the incident. – TJP

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