Saturday, December 2, 2023

Iraq arrests 14 suspects, including wedding hall owner, after fatal fire

The security forces of Iraq's Kurdistan region, upon an order of the Iraqi government, have detained the owner of a wedding hall in Al-Hamdaniya District in Nineveh Province where about 100 people died in a fire, Iraqi media reported.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry issued arrest orders for several people, including the wedding hall’s owner, Samir Suleiman Karume Ravo Aso, after which he was arrested in the Erbil governorate and handed over to the ministry, media reported.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry has announced security authorities has detained 14 people involved in the incident. The ministry pledged to announce the results of the investigation within 72 hours.

“Security authorities detained 14 defendants, including ten workers, the owner of the hall and three people involved in lighting the pyrotechnics,” the ministry was quoted as saying by the media.

About 900 people were in the wedding hall where the fire broke out, the ministry added.

Earlier reports citing the Iraqi Interior Ministry, detailed that many people had died because the emergency exits in the wedding hall were closed. Almost 1,000 people were reportedly present at the celebration. One of the guests posted a video on social media of the canopy on the ceiling in the center of the hall, which was crowded with tables with food, catching fire from floor fireworks.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society confirmed that more than 450 people had either died or had been injured as a result of the fire at the wedding hall.

Nineveh Governor Najim al-Jubouri has declared a week of mourning in the province in connection with the incident, while Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani announced a three-day nationwide mourning.

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