Death toll rises to 82 in Baghdad hospital fire

Death toll rises to 82 in Baghdad hospital fire
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An oxygen tank explosion is being blamed for a fire at a Baghdad hospital treating COVID-19 patients, leaving 82 people dead and more than 100 injured on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Witnesses told Reuters and that some families tried to save loved ones being treated at the Ibn Khatib hospital. Some were still outside the hospital looking for their loved ones.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khalid al-Muhanna said that 110 people were injured and that most of the dead and injured were patients.


The fire led to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi suspending Health Minister Hassan al-Tamini over negligence. The governor of Baghdad and another senior health ministry official were also suspended. 

Kadhimi called for an emergency meeting ordering an investigation with findings which is due in five days, according to Reuters. 

Iraq has struggled to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than one million and killed 15,257 people.

The U.S. said he was preparing to send support to the government in the wake of the fire. 

“We mourn the loss of life in the fire at Ibn al-Khatib hospital in Baghdad. We are in touch with Iraqi officials and have offered assistance. Our strategic partnership with Iraq is first and foremost a partnership between our two peoples. We are prepared to support the Government of Iraq and its people at this tragic moment,” said National Security Advisor Jake SullivanJake SullivanBiden meets with UK's Johnson ahead of G-7 Biden, UK's Johnson to unveil renewed Atlantic Charter Biden must get tough on China's forced-labor industries, including solar MORE in a statement Sunday.