Thirty killed in Iraqi hotel blaze

GUESTS leapt desperately to their deaths from upper-floor windows as a fire tore through a hotel in northern Iraq killing 30 people, 14 of them foreigners, police and medics said.

Citizens of Australia, Britain, Canada and several Asian and South American countries were among those killed in Thursday night’s blaze in Sulaimaniyah, which raged for seven hours before being brought under control, officials said.

A preliminary report prepared by the city’s hospital said people from 12 nations had died and the bodies of the foreigners had been identified by colleagues. Visiting telecommunications engineers from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Cambodia, were among the victims, according to officials.

“The number killed is 30, among whom there are 14 foreigners,” said Rikot Hama Rasheed, the director of Sulaimaniyah hospital.

The fire rose rapidly from the second floor of the six-level Soma hotel.

Witnesses said at least three of those who died did so after leaping from the hotel’s windows in a desperate bid to save themselves as flames and smoke engulfed their rooms.

A city council official said an electrical fault caused the blaze.


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