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Lankan Killed in Kurdish Fire

Jul 16, 2010 5:38:58 AM - thesundayleader.lk

A hotel fire in the Kurdish autonomous region has killed a Sri Lankan engineer. Out of 29 people who suffered gruesome deaths, four were Americans. Several other foreign nationals, mostly skilled workers, also passed away

AFP reports that the massive blaze in Sulaimaniyah city, 270km north of Baghdad, broke out around 10.30pm on Thursday and raged for seven hours before finally being brought under control. Onlookers relate how they saw people jumping from the upper floors of the 5 story building in order to escape the flames. Most of the dead were reportedly suffocated by smoke.

The Sri Lankan engineer in question was working for Asiacell, Iraq’s first ever mobile telecommunications company. The company which was set up in 1999, was attacked by gunmen in January 2009 who set fire to two diesel driven generators in Mosul some 175 kilometres North of Sulaimaniyah. Authorities insist that there is no evidence so far of the fire being caused by an attack and have said that the reason appears to be an electrical short.