Middle East

Hotel fire in Iraqi Kurdistan city of Irbil 'kills 19'

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At least 19 people have died in a fire that ripped through a hotel in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, officials say.

Provincial governor Nawzad Hadi said 14 were from the Philippines, three were Iraqis and one was a Palestinian. One victim has not yet been identified.

Dozens of other people were injured in the blaze, at the Capitol Hotel.

An electrical fault in the hotel was the suspected cause of the fire, Mr Hadi added.

A hotel spokesman confirmed to Kurdish broadcaster Rudaw TV that some of those killed were from the Philippines, but said the fire had started in a business next door.

Images posted on social media showed smoke pouring from windows on the top floor of the hotel.

The Kurdistan Region is an autonomous area in the north of Iraq. It has been at the forefront of the campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group, which controls parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

The region experienced an oil-fuelled economic boom in 2003, attracting many foreign workers.

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