Baghdad, Sep 27 (IANS): At least 114 people were killed and more than 200 injured after a massive fire ripped through a wedding hall in Iraq's Nineveh province, a top official announced on Wednesday.
The updated figures were confirmed to the media by Nineveh Governor Najm al-Jubouri, reports Xinhua news agency.
The fire broke out on Tuesday night in the al-Haytham Wedding Hall in al-Hamdaniya town, 35 km southeast of the provincial capital Mosul, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted the Iraqi Civil Defence as saying.
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 blaze that led to the collapse of part of the building, the INA said, adding that an investigation was launched into the incident.
It was not clear if the bride and the groom were among the victims.
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.
Health Ministry spokesman Sayf al-Badr said that the situation is under control and that they were following the incident closely.
The INA reported that the Health Minister directed authorities 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.