14 people injured by gas explosion in Sulaymaniyah
A huge explosion caused by gas leakage rocked Lilly Lounge, a cafeteria and restaurant in Sulaimaniya city's main Salim Street early on Thursday, officials said.
Saman Latif, spokesperson for Sulaimani's health directorate told The New Arab in a phone call that at least 14 people were wounded as a result of the explosion, and are currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
"After 14 hours of search and rescue operations, fortunately, we can say that no one was under the rubble and there were no casualties. The explosion happened due to the accumulation of gas at the back part of the cafeteria where shisha is being prepared, consequently, the place caught on fire," Rekan Jamal, head of the committee on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) systems in Sulaimaniyah governorate said in a press conference, attended by TNA.
"Fourteen people were wounded in the incident, with most receiving minor treatments. But there is material damage to the restaurant and neighbouring houses. The restaurant has a formal license and safety from Sulaimaniyah's civil defence, and the LPG system has been installed by a specialized company. A police investigation is underway in order to find details of what caused the explosion," Jamal added.
TNA also contacted Sarkawt Ahmed, spokesperson of Sulaimaniyah police, but he was not immediately available to comment.
Meanwhile, Dyar Rauf, director of Sulaimaniyah Civil Defense told TNA that since early Thursday rescue teams were searching for anyone that was possibly still under the rubble but after a total inspection of the site there were no victims.
This is not the first time that a gas leak caused massive explosions in Iraq and the Kurdistan region where safety measures are often ignored by business owners and local authorities.
On July 13, a fire in a Covid isolation ward at the al-Hussein hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya killed at least 92 people. Local police said the fire was due to an electric shortage that spread to an oxygen tank, which then exploded.