114 killed, over 200 wounded in Iraq's wedding hall fire

When fire engulfed Bobmil factory along mombasa road. [Maxwell Aggwanda, Standard]

Up to 114 people were killed and more than 200 injured in a huge wedding hall fire in the town of al-Hamdaniya in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, Governor of Nineveh Najm al-Jubouri told reporters on Wednesday.

The fire broke out on Tuesday night in the al-Haytham Wedding Hall in the town of al-Hamdaniya, 35 km southeast of the provincial capital Mosul, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted the Iraqi Civil Defense as saying earlier.

It said that initial reports indicated that fireworks were used during the celebration, which may have caused the fire.

The building was covered with highly flammable materials, which accelerated the fire that led to the collapse of part of the building, the INA said, adding that an investigation was launched into the incident.

The Health Ministry spokesman Sayf al-Badr said that the situation is under control and that the health ministry is following the incident closely.

The INA reported that the health minister issued instructions to the health departments in the neighboring provinces of Kirkuk and Salahudin to send ambulances to help evacuate the victims.

A statement by his media office said that Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani made a phone call to the Nineveh governor to learn about the situation and ordered the interior and health ministers to support the affected people.

"We are following the tragic developments in the town of al-Hamdaniya following the painful accident that caused a number of victims and injuries," Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi said in a tweet.