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At least 100 killed as fire engulfs Iraq wedding hall

A firefighter surveys the charred and mangled interior of the reception hall where hundreds of Iraqis had been celebrating a wedding
— Qaraqosh (Iraq) (AFP)

At least 100 people were killed when a fire ripped through a crowded Iraqi wedding hall, officials said Wednesday, pointing to indoor fireworks as the likely cause for the blaze that sparked a panicked stampede for the exits.

More than 150 people were injured by the flames, the choking smoke or in the crush to flee the reception hall, which was reduced to charred debris and piles of twisted furniture under a partially collapsed ceiling.

"I thought there had been an explosion," said Martin Idriss, 19, who was working in the kitchen when the fire broke out Tuesday evening in the venue in the mainly Christian northern city of Qaraqosh.

"The flames were devouring the whole hall," he said.

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