Oxygen Tank Explodes At Hospital, At Least 82 Killed – Ministry

The death toll from a fire at a COVID-19 hospital in the Iraqi capital Baghdad rose to 82 patients, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry on Sunday.

A ministry statement said that 110 patients were also injured in the fire that took place at the Ibn al-Khatib hospital in Baghdad late Saturday.

According to local media, the fire was caused by the explosion of oxygen tanks at the hospital, where coronavirus patients were being treated.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.

“The Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces mourn the martyrs of the tragic incident that took place in Ibn al-Khatib hospital in the capital Baghdad,” al-Kadhimi’s media office said on Twitter.

According to a statement, al-Kadhimi “ordered an immediate investigation into the causes of the incident” and to “summon the hospital manager, the security manager [of the hospital] and those responsible for the maintenance of the hospital equipment.”

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed “shock and pain at the enormity of the tragic incident” affecting Covid-19 patients at the hospital.

For its part, the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq, an official body linked to the Iraqi parliament, called on the Iraqi premier to sack Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi and his deputies over the incident.