The bride and the groom miraculously survived the tragic incident, but are currently in a difficult psychological state.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has offered his condolences to Iraq’s President Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid on Wednesday following a fatal wedding blaze that has claimed more than 100 lives.
“His Highness The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani sent a cable of condolences to HE President of the Republic of Iraq Dr. Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid and HE Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani on the victims of the fire in Nineveh Governorate, wishing the injured a speedy recovery,” read a statement by the Amiri Diwan.
Deadly flames engulfed the Al-Haitham Hall in Nineveh’s Hamdaniyah district on Tuesday night during a wedding reception, turning a moment of joy into complete catastrophe.
More than 100 people, including infants, have been confirmed dead and at least 150 others have been injured. Officials say at least 1,000 people attended the wedding.
“This was not a wedding. This was hell,” Mariam Khedr, a survivor, told Reuters as she waited to receive the bodies of her 27-year-old daughter and three young grandchildren, the youngest aged eight months.
Despite earlier reports, the bride and the groom miraculously survived the tragic incident, but are currently in a difficult psychological state, relatives of the couple confirmed to Iraqi Channel 1.
“We miraculously left the place. The groom and the bride were among the people who survived the accident. I was just with them, and their psychological condition was very difficult. I took some wounded to the hospital. What I saw in the hospital is difficult to describe. Many of the victims were burned and dead,” one relative told the broadcaster.
Preliminary information shared by Iraq’s civil defence pointed to fireworks being the cause of the fire, before officials confirmed the use of highly flammable and unsafe cladding in the venue itself—enabling the fast spread of the deadly flames.
Videos that surfaced online also appeared to show indoor fireworks being used before the blaze erupted.
Iraq has declared three days of national mourning and President Rashid has called for an investigation into the fire.
“What happened to our children in the Al-Hamdaniya district is a painful tragedy, and an accident that tore our hearts and the hearts of all Iraqis,” the Iraqi president said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
So far, authorities have arrested nine people working at the hall, with plans to detain the owner of the now collapsed venue.
Meanwhile, condolences have poured in from around world.
Turkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, and Lithuania are among a number of countries that have issued statements of condolences to Iraq.
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq also expressed its shock over the incident.
“Shocked and pained by the horrible loss of life and injuries in the fire in Ninewa’s Hamdaniya. An immense tragedy. Our sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones. We wish the injured a speedy recovery,” the UN said in a post on X.