A fire that broke out at a wedding hall in northern Iraq on Tuesday night killed more than 100 people and injured over 150 others, officials said on Wednesday. The fire was reportedly triggered by fireworks that were set off during the wedding ceremony.
The incident occurred in the town of Qaraqosh, also known as Hamdaniya, in the Nineveh province, a predominantly Christian area near the city of Mosul. The wedding hall was packed with hundreds of guests who were celebrating the marriage of a local couple.
According to witnesses and video footage, the fireworks ignited the ceiling decorations and the fire quickly spread to the flammable building materials. The guests panicked and rushed to the exits, but many were trapped by the flames and the smoke.
The health ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr confirmed that at least 100 people died and more than 150 were injured in the fire. He said that most of the injuries were caused by burns, oxygen deprivation and crush wounds. He added that the death toll could still rise as some of the victims were in critical condition.
The authorities launched an investigation into the cause and circumstances of the fire. Nine staff members of the wedding hall were arrested for negligence and violating safety regulations.