February 5, 2016 / 4:48 PM / 2 years ago

Hotel fire in Iraqi Kurdistan kills 17, including foreigners

People gather at the Capitol Hotel, the site of a deadly fire, in Erbil, Iraq February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - A fire at a hotel in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region killed 17 people on Friday, the governor of Erbil told a local media network, and the hotel manager said they included foreigners.

Governor Nawzad Hadi told Rudaw TV that 14 of the victims were not from the autonomous region, but that their nationality was not yet known.

The cause of the fire was not clear, but Hadi said an electrical fault was suspected.

The manager of the Capitol Hotel told Rudaw the fire had started in a massage parlor next door and that some of those killed were from the Philippines.

Many foreign workers came to Kurdistan after 2003, when the region experienced an oil fueled economic boom, inviting comparisons with the Gulf emirate of Dubai.

Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alison Williams

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