Death toll from gas tank explosion in Iraq rises to 15

BAGHDAD (AP) — The death toll from a heating gas tank that exploded in a residential complex in northern Iraq has risen to 15, an civil defense official said Friday.

The explosion a night earlier in the city of Sulimaniyah destroyed three homes and also injured 16 people. On Thursday night, Kurdish officials and local media reports said that an unknown number of people were trapped under the rubble.

Authorities said the explosion was caused by a liquid gas tank. Civil defense teams were combing through the rubble in search of survivors.

“A total of 15 bodies have been pulled out from under the rubble,” said the head of Civil Defense in Sulimaniyah, Diyar Ibrahim, according to the official Iraqi News Agency. He said search operations continued into the early hours of Friday, adding that there are no more bodies under the rubble.

The provincial governor, Haval Abu Bakrin, said a child was among the victims, INA reported.

Masrour Barzani, prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish-controlled region in northern Iraq, ordered an investigation.

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