At Least 100 Killed In Iraq Wedding Fire Tragedy


Early Wednesday, officials reported that a fire erupted during a wedding ceremony at an event hall in the northern Iraqi town of Qaraqosh, resulting in the tragic loss of over 100 lives and leaving more than 150 individuals wounded.

Hundreds of people were celebrating in Al-Hamdaniya in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province when fire tore through the venue late on Tuesday evening.

It is not yet clear what caused the blaze, but early reports say it broke out after fireworks were lit.

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It’s not clear if the bride and the groom are among the dead or injured.

Initial reports in Iraqi media said they had died in the blaze, with news agency Nina later reporting that they were alive but were being treated for burns.

At the primary hospital located in the mostly Christian town to the east of Mosul, an AFP photographer observed ambulances arriving urgently with sirens blaring, while a multitude of people congregated in the hospital courtyard, offering to donate blood.

Furthermore, a separate group was visible in front of an open refrigerated truck containing black body bags.

Citing a “preliminary tally”, Iraq’s official INA news agency reported that health authorities in Nineveh province had “counted 100 dead and more than 150 injured in the fire at a marriage hall in Hamdaniyah”, as the town is also known.

The casualty toll was confirmed to AFP by health ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr.

 Flammable panels in the building may have helped the flames spread, causing parts of the ceiling to fall down.

“The fire led to the collapse of parts of the hall as a result of the use of highly flammable, low-cost building materials that collapse within minutes when fire breaks out,” Iraq’s civil defence directorate said, quoted by Iraq’s state news agency INA.

Firefighters could be seen climbing over the wreckage of the building in search of survivors in the early hours of Wednesday morning, in video filmed at the site by a correspondent for news agency Reuters.

Eyewitnesses said hundreds of people were there celebrating when the building caught fire at around 10:45 local time (19:45 GMT).

“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,” Imad Yohana, a 34-year-old who escaped the inferno, told Reuters.

The deputy governor of Nineveh, Hassan al-Allaq, told Reuters that 113 people had been confirmed dead, while state news agency INA put the death toll at at least 100, with 150 people injured.

The injured have been transferred to hospitals across the Nineveh region, the region’s governor told INA. He suggested that the number of deaths and injuries was not fixed and may rise.

At the main hospital in Hamdaniya, a town east of the region’s capital Mosul, dozens of people arrived to donate blood to help the injured.

Iraq’s prime minister posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had told officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident”. (BBC, excluding headline)