Fifteen killed in gas tank explosion in northern Iraq

A day of mourning was declared in Sulaymaniyah province

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Fifteen people were killed in an explosion at a residential area in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, the Civil Defence said on Friday.

A gas tank used for the heating system at a residential complex in the city of Sulaymaniyah exploded late on Thursday.

"Fifteen bodies were pulled out from under the rubble," Director of the Civil Defence in Sulaymaniyah Diar Ibrahim told a press conference. "No bodies remain under the rubble."

A rescue operation lasting 17 hours had now ended, he said.

Earlier in the day, health authorities in Sulaymaniyah put the death toll at 11 and said 13 were wounded.

Officials said at least three houses were destroyed in the blast.

The governor of Sulaymaniyah, Haval Abu Bakr, declared a day of mourning for the victims of the explosion, the state-run Iraq News Agency reported.

At least one child was among the victims, according to the governor.

Masrour Barzani, Prime Minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-controlled region, ordered an investigation into the explosion.

At the end of October, at least nine people were killed and 13 others injured when a tanker transporting gas accidentally exploded in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.

In April 2021, more than 80 people died in a Baghdad hospital fire when improperly stored oxygen cylinders exploded.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 2:36 PM