More than 100 dead, 150 injured in Iraq wedding inferno

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By Timour Azhari

NINEVEH, Iraq, Sept 27 (Reuters) – More than 100 people were killed and 150 injured in a fire at a wedding party in Hamdaniya district in Iraq’s Nineveh province that left civil defence 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 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 defence said, according to state media.

“We saw the fire pulsating, coming out of the hall. Those who managed got out and those who didn’t got stuck. Even those who made their way out were broken,” 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 smouldering 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.

Iraqi fire fighters inspect the scene of a fire that broke out at a wedding hall in Hamdaniya, in Iraq’s Nineveh province, north of Iraq, 27 September 2023. More than 100 people died and at least 150 are injured after a fire during a Christian wedding celebration in Iraq’s Nineveh province. EPA-EFE/MOHAMAD SAIF

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