ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least six homeless women were killed on Friday after a fire engulfed a detention center in Iraq’s capital, a security source said.
The detention center is located in the district of Adhamiya, where security gathered multiple homeless women.
The fire erupted soon after a riot began inside the building, but it is unclear whether the blaze was accidental or deliberately started, the source told Kurdistan 24.
“The place serves as a detention center for women who are arrested for sleeping in the streets as they have no shelter and no family,” the source added.
The fire burned most of the second floor of the building, where it started. The detention center is also located next to an orphanage.
“There is a possibility that the riot escalated with some women setting fire to their bodies to protest the center’s conditions, but the information is yet to be verified,” a source who was nearby at the time of the incident, told Kurdistan 24.
“The place is for homeless women, some of whom are [allegedly] treated as prostitutes there,” the source added.
Local police and security forces have opened an investigation into the case and have yet to determine the cause of the fire.
The detention center is administered and supervised by the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. There were no immediate comments from the Ministry on the incident.
Editing by Nadia Riva