Christian religious leaders in Iraq called for an investigation over a wedding fire that killed more than 100 people last week, reports the Associated Press.
Priests have blamed the corruption and influence of armed militias as some of the factors that produced the tragedy. Some have even said that the fire was intentional.
“We reject the idea that the cause of the fire was an accident,” Father Boutros Sheeto, relative of ten deceased wedding attendees, said. “We are confident that it was intentional and therefore we demand an international investigation.”
Also, Chaldean Catholic Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako from Rome said that the fire “was the act of someone who sold his conscience and nation for a specific agenda.”
On Tuesday night in the Haitham Royal Wedding Hall the ceiling panels above a pyrotechnic caught in flames. On Sunday, the Iraqi government said that the cause of the fire was the unsafe use of fireworks and that the fire had killed 107 people and injured 82.
On Monday the Nineveh Health Department updated the death toll to 113. Also, it said that 12 people were sent for treatment abroad.
Christians in Iraq are a minority, and their numbers have been decreasing in the past two decades. It is estimated that today there are around 150,000 Christians in Iraq, compared to the 1.5 million in 2003.