At least 100 killed in blaze at wedding party in Iraq

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At least 100 killed in blaze at wedding party in Iraq

At least 100 people have died and 150 others injured after a fire broke out at a wedding in northern Iraq, state media has reported.

The bride and the groom are reported to be among the victims, according to local media.

The fire happened in the district of Al-Hamdaniya in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province late on Tuesday evening.

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

A photo posted by Iraqi news agency Nina showed dozens of firefighters battling the fire, and pictures from local journalists on social media show the charred-out remains of the event hall.

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 a separate news agency Nina.

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.