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 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.
Ambulances and medical crews were sent to the site by Iraqi authorities, according to official statements.
Iraq’s prime minister told officials to “mobilise all efforts to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate incident,” his office said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The injured have been transferred to hospitals across the Nineveh region, the region’s governor told INA. He suggested that the number of deaths and injuries was not fixed and may rise.
At the main hospital in Hamdaniyah, a town east of the region’s capital Mosul, dozens of people arrived to donate blood to help the injured.