CNA Staff, Sep 27, 2023 / 18:20 pm
A fire that ripped through a wedding venue in northern Iraq has killed more than 100 people in a majority-Christian town still rebuilding after years of ISIS occupation.
The hall in Qaraqosh on the Nineveh Plains burned Tuesday night during a Syriac Catholic wedding celebration. Witnesses and civil defense officials told the BBC that the fire was sparked, with hundreds of guests present, by fireworks set off as the bride and groom danced.
Archbishop Bashar Warda, who leads the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, said in a Sept. 27 statement to EWTN News that “patriarchs, bishops, and priests from all faiths gathered today in Qaraqosh to bury those who had perished.”
“No words can adequately describe the mourning of those bringing their loved ones to their final resting places in their ancient land. What was to be a time of joy has now turned into a whole community into mourning and deep shock,” the archbishop, for years an outspoken advocate for the Middle East’s persecuted Christian minority, told EWTN News.