#BreakingNews Fire at a Syriac Catholic Wedding Causes Over 100 Deaths in Christian Iraq - Patriarchs, Bishops and Faithful Gather in Prayer

A fire destroyed a packed wedding hall in northern Iraq late on September 26th, killing more than 100 people, UPDATE the bride and groom survived. The fire appeared to have started when fireworks were set off inside the building and highly-flammable panels were engulfed in flames. "There were a lot of victims, charred bodies. It’s an indescribable tragedy," Fardous, a nun who saw the fire, said. One hundred and fifty people were also injured in the blaze. 
The area of Qaraqosh (population 50,000), Iraq, is still recovering from the 2014 invasion of ISIS, which devastated the land. Pope Francis visited this area, referred to as Iraq's Christian capital, in 2021, to encourage members of the country's oldest faith to return to their homes after being driven out by ISIS. Qaraqosh, a town also known as Hamdaniya, lies east of Mosul in the Nineveh plain. 
Patriarchs, Bishops, priests and the faithful gather in prayer and for the funeral (See Video at Bottom).
The Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius III Younan and  His Beatitude Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako released the following statements and visited the area (image above) - also see video at bottom.

The Chaldean Patriarchate released statements: Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius III Younan expressed his closeness and complete solidarity with the Archbishop of Mosul and its environs, Benedict Younan Hanno, and all the sons and daughters of his diocese, clergy and faithful, especially the sons and daughters of the beloved and bereaved Qaraqosh, after a fire incident during a wedding ceremony.

A fire during a wedding ceremony in the Al-Hamdaniya area, northern Iraq, caused a major disaster that resulted in the death and injury of hundreds. The use of sandwich panels covered with cobond panels used in the process of building the wedding hall contributed to exacerbating the disaster and spreading the fire, as they are flammable materials.

In a statement, Patriarch Younan called on all believers to “pray fervently for the victims who fell as a result of the great fire at a wedding party in Qaraqosh,” asking him to “be kind, compassionate, and save his people, through the intercession of our mother, the pure Virgin Mary

Patriarch Sako visits Qaraqosh to offer condolences and participate in the funeral of the victims of the catastrophic fire

On Wednesday morning, September 27, 2023, His Beatitude Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako visited the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese to offer condolences and sympathy to the victims of the Nakba fire, where 114 people died and about 200 were injured. He was received by His Eminence Bishop Benedict Younan Hanno and His Eminence Bishop Nathanael Nizar Semaan Ajam. His Beatitude was accompanied by Bishop Shalimon Wardoni, Najib Mikhail, Fathers Avram Klyana, Director of the Priestly Institute, and Rudy Vigneron, the French visitor.
There was talk about the tragedy that befell the people of Qaraqosh, which turned the wedding into a tragedy. His Beatitude presented a sum of money to His Eminence Bishop Younan to help the afflicted families.
In the afternoon, he participated in the funeral ceremony and gave a short speech in which he said: “This Nakba will remain alive, not in the memory of the people of Qaraqosh, but in the memory of Iraqi Christians.” It is a tragedy how, in an instant, life turned into death and joy into painful sadness... 
Sources: https://abouna.org/content/ -
Image screenshot of the Patriarchs gathering in mournig  - https://chaldeanpatriarchate.com/
Video from Global News and the Patriarchate