Iraq arrests ‘gang’ behind hospital blaze

An official said an 8-member gang set fire to a room containing 100 mln dinars in Al-Yarmouk hospital, leading to the killing of 13 babies

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An eight-member gang, who set fire to one of the biggest hospitals in the capital Baghdad leading to the killing of 13 premature babies, has been arrested, an Iraqi security committee said on Saturday.

The security committee in Baghdad’s provincial council said the gang was arrested for “setting fire” in Al-Yarmouk hospital and stealing 100 million Iraqi dinars ($84,602).

“There was information that 100 million dinars were in the [hospital’s] contract room,” member of the committee, Saad al-Matlabi, told the Iraq-based Al-Sumaria News website.

Matlabi said security cameras had captured images of the gang who were seen “entering the hospital identifying themselves as an audit team or something of that sort, and they put on masks when they stormed the room.”

“They took the money and then set the room on fire to hide the theft of money,” he added.

But “the [contract] room was adjacent to the premature babies’ lobby, and the fire spread from the contracts room to the lobby through AC channels which led to the disaster.”

The initial investigation found the presence of flammable materials at the site.

On August 14, the health ministry spokesman said arson was behind the unfortunate incident.

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