At approximately 2245 local time (1945 UTC) on 26 September 2023, a fire erupted during a marriage celebration at an event venue in the northern town of Qaraqosh, Nineveh governorate, located approximately 30 km (20 mi) southeast of the provincial capital of Mosul. The blaze began after celebrants lit fireworks in the building, which authorities allege was constructed of highly flammable materials. At least 113 people were killed and 150 more were injured.
Analyst Comment: At least 1,000 individuals were at the venue at the time of the fire. The fatality count is expected to rise. Travelers should expect hospitals in the surrounding region to be inundated with the injured from the fire. While the damage from the blaze is believed to be localized to the wedding hall, federal authorities dispatched rescue personnel from nearby areas – including the neighboring region of Kurdistan – because of the size of the disaster. This may affect emergency response times in the surrounding region, including in Mosul and Erbil. Likewise, transportation may be disrupted around Qaraqosh due to the size of the emergency response.