Iraqi lawmaker skeptic over official accounts amid high casualty toll

Iraqi lawmaker skeptic over official accounts amid high casualty toll

Shafaq News/ Mohammed Khalil, a representative of Nineveh in the Iraqi parliament, on Saturday expressed reservations about the official narrative in the aftermath of the the tragic fire in Hamdaniya, calling for transparent investigation into the incident that has killed or injured 315 citizens.

In a statement to Shafaq News Agency, Khalil questioned the official position of the Interior Ministry that the incident was not premeditated.

"We have suspicions regarding the incident, given the immense number of victims and the timing," Khalil said, echoing "the prevalent doubts and the growing demand for clear and credible answers".

The lawmaker urged the authorities to consider the Hamdaniya case akin to the Mosul ferry tragedy, and called for recognizing the victims as martyrs, and "accountability and justice for the bereaved families and injured survivors of the catastrophic event."

The parliamentarian cast doubts on the validity of the building licenses granted for the construction of the banquet hall where the tragedy took place.

He said that the tragedy is a reminder for "the imperative need to adhere to the global safety and construction standards, which were evidently unmet in this instance."

Brigadier Jodat Abdul Rahman of the Civil Defense Media concurred that the fire was intensified by the use of highly flammable construction materials and the unauthorized use of fireworks, contributing to the significant casualty count, including women and children.

Khalil said Hamdaniya should be announced a "disaster-stricken" area and advocated for international and United Nations assistance in the investigation and recovery efforts.

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