13 children die in Qatar mall blaze

Thirteen children were among 19 people killed today in a fire that broke out at one of Qatar’s best-known shopping malls.

Four teachers and two civil defence officials were among the dead, the country’s Interior Ministry said. Another 17 people, mostly rescue workers, were injured.

Witnesses earlier reported thick black smoke pouring from the ritzy Villaggio mall in Doha around midday today. The fire was extinguished hours later.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The Villaggio opened in 2006 and is one of Qatar’s most popular shopping and amusement destinations. It includes an ice skating rink and indoor Venetian-style gondola rides.

New construction projects such as the Villaggio have transformed the face of Doha in recent years, as the country benefits from a hydrocarbon boom.

Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and will host football’s World Cup in 2022.


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