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03rd Oct 2023

Bride and groom say they’re ‘dead inside’ after more than 100 people died at their wedding

Steve Hopkins

The couple lost more than a dozen close relatives each

A couple have said they feel “dead inside” and can no longer live in their community after a fire at their wedding killed more than 100 guests.

Revan, 27, and his bride, Haneen, 18, survived the blaze, which started inside a packed wedding hall in Qaraqosh, in the Nineveh province of northern Iraq, near the city of Mosul, on Tuesday, but lost several close family members each.

Revan lost 15 members of his family, including his mum. His wife lost 10 relatives, including her mum and brother. Her dad is in a critical condition.

Revan told Sky News: “That’s it, we can’t live here anymore.

“I mean, every time we try to have some happiness, something tragic happens to us and destroys the happiness. So, it’s best for us to leave.

Revan added: “It’s true that we’re sitting here in front of you alive. But inside we are dead. We are numb. We are dead inside.”

The cause of the fire is rumoured to have been started by indoor fireworks, though Revan has suggested it may have started in the ceiling of the building, telling Sky: “It could be a short-circuit, I don’t know.”

He went on to say “we felt the heat… when I heard the crackling, I looked at the ceiling.

“Then the ceiling, which was all nylon, started to melt. It only took seconds.”

Revan said there was a power cut just before their first dance, then he noticed flames in the ceiling as the lights came back on.

He dragged his new wife to safety, as she couldn’t escape due to her long wedding dress.

“I kept dragging her and trying to get her out of the kitchen entrance,” Revan said, recalling how people fleeing the scene “were trampling on her.”

The couple told local media the fire had “destroyed” their happiness.

Jamil al-Jamil, a friend of the couple, said: “The crushing blow of losing so many family members far outweighs the ‘minor burns’ they suffered in the fire.

“The bride lost her whole family – three brothers, all of her uncles and her young cousins. “The groom lost his mother.”

Authorities have since said that flammable building materials contributed to the disaster.

The cause of the fire is yet to be officially determined, but out TV station showed videos of pyrotechnics shooting up from the floor and setting a chandelier on fire.

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