By The Assyrian Journal | Sept. 26, 2023
A massive fire broke out at an Assyrian wedding reception in Baghdeda in northern Iraq late Tuesday.
Initial reports cited at least 100 people killed and at least 150 injured. The death toll is expected to climb.
An ambulance that had picked up injured patients also overturned while traveling to a nearby hospital.
Overrun hospitals in Baghdeda are sending newly arrived injured patients to Mosul, Erbil and Kirkuk hospitals.
The Governor’s office in Mosul encouraged residents to go to medical centers to donate blood.
Iraq’s prime minister called the Governor of Nineveh for details on the situation, and told officials in a post to “mobilize all efforts to provide relief.”
Baghdeda is a city in northern Iraq just south of Mosul. In 2014, it was home to an estimated 65,000 Assyrians, but that number dropped as the Islamic State swept through the country. Today there are about 28,000 Assyrians remaining in the city.
The city was overrun in 2014 by the Islamic State, and under control by the extremist group until it was liberated in October 2016 as part of the Battle of Mosul.
The Al Haitham Hall is one of the main wedding halls in the city. It’s reportedly an older hall, but the building was renovated after the exodus of the Islamic State. A local report cited the hall was in violation of safety requirements and its walls were covered in flammable materials.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.