x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Saudi Arabia wedding fire kills 23 women and children

Celebratory gunfire sparks a electrical fire in the women only tent, killing at least 23 women and children in Eastern Province, Saudi media reports.

At least 23 people, mostly women, were electrocuted and two dozen injured after celebratory gunfire brought a power line down on a wedding party in Saudi Arabia.

Photos on social media showed charred clothing and other items strewn on the floor after Tuesday’s tragedy in Abqaiq, in the kingdom’s Eastern Province.

One newspaper report said the wedding marquee caught fire and children were among the dead.

“The small local hospital in Abqaiq was overwhelmed with the number of victims,” the Saudi journalist Ahmed Al Omran wrote on his blog, Riyadh Bureau.

“The hospital morgue can only take 13 bodies. Many dead and wounded were taken to hospitals in nearby cities like Dammam and Qatif.”

The community of Abqaiq lies near a large oilfield operated by Saudi Aramco, where many of the residents are employed.

Prince Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, governor of the Eastern Region, has ordered a full investigation, the Saudi news agency said.

edickinson@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting from Agence France-Presse