More than 100 people have reportedly been killed and 150 others injured after a fire broke out at a packed wedding hall in northern Iraq.
The incident took place on Tuesday evening in Qaraqosh, Iraq’s biggest Christian town.
The main cause of the inferno remains sketchy — although early reports said it broke out after fireworks were lit.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Abdul Amir Al-Shammari, the country’s interior minister, said: “justice will be served to those who were negligent”.
“The hall did not meet safety criteria. Because of the fireworks the ceiling collapsed on the people in the hall,” he added.
State media reported that the interior minister issued four arrest warrants for the owners of the wedding hall, while President Abdul Latif Rashid called for an investigation into the fire outbreak.
It was gathered that there were 1,300 guests who attended the wedding ceremony when the blaze broke out.
Videos shared on social media showed the couple on the dance floor before the fire ripped through the hall.
Another video of a fire in a wedding hall in Iraq pic.twitter.com/Tz2S6YX7nN
— janetking (@janetking851241) September 27, 2023
New video shows moment fire breaks out at wedding in Iraq, killing at least 114 people. Death toll expected to rise pic.twitter.com/IK0yEZDkEO
— BNO News (@BNONews) September 27, 2023
Firefighters could be seen climbing over the wreckage of the building in search of survivors on Wednesday morning.
Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, Iraq’s prime minister, said building inspections would be carried out with “the relevant authorities held accountable for any negligence”.
He also declared three days of national mourning.
Taking to X, the president of Iraq said he had told officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident”.
فاجعة مؤلمة ما حصل لأبنائنا في قضاء الحمدانية اثر الحريق الذي طال تجمع لحفل زفاف، حادث اعتصر قلوبنا وقلوب كل العراقيين حزناً. نؤكد ضرورة فتح تحقيق ومعرفة ملابسات الحادث واتخاذ كافة إجراءات السلامة لمنع تكراره.
عميق مواساتنا وخالص تعازينا الى ذوي الضحايا والشفاء العاجل للمصابين.Advertisement
— Abdullatif J Rashid عبد اللطيف جمال رشيد (@LJRashid) September 27, 2023
It is unclear if the bride and groom survived.
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