Syriac Church reacts to official report that says fire in Christian wedding was "accidental"
Iraqi officials on Sunday said that the fire which left over 100 people dead at a banquet hall in the country's Al-Hamdaniya district was caused by the detonation of flammable material due to an electricity malfunction.
"The investigation committee conclusively found out that the incident was accidental and it was not international at all," Rudaw cited Kadhim Salman Buhan, advisor to the Iraqi interior minister.
Buhan added that the fire was caused by negligence and the presence of prohibited, highly flammable construction materials in the hall.
Younan Hanno, The Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, reacted to the investigation's conclusion, saying:
"We reject it, we don’t accept it. Now we will meet with the religious leaders in the area and we will have a decision regarding this matter within 24 hours."
He claimed that there are several video recordings which show that the fire was not caused by an accidental detonation of flammable material.
Adding that they also refuse the recommendation of the interior ministry to dismiss the local officials in the district, he said: "I feel that there are political conspiracies behind these dismissals."
Arguing that some political parties try to exploit the tragedy for political gains, he called on his community to boycott the coming elections.
Hundreds of people were celebrating at a Christian wedding in the town of Hamdaniya on Tuesday evening, when a fire broke out in the hall, killing over 100 participants.
Hamdaniya, located in the Nineveh Plains near Mosul and one of Iraq’s Christian-majority districts, was occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014. While a “caliphate” was declared in the region by the jihadist group, widespread atrocities against minority groups, including Christians and Yazidis, were committed.