Baghdad: At least 24 newborn babies have died in a fire that broke out at a hospital in Iraq's capital Baghdad on Wednesday, Iraqi broadcaster Rudaw reported, citing health officials.
"After a fire broke out at one of the maternity wards at the Yarmouk Hospital in Baghdad, an oxygen capsule detonated and as a result the babies got burned and died," the health ministry said in a statement.
At least 11 of the babies who perished in the blaze were premature, according to health officials.
At least seven other children and 29 women were rescued and transferred to another hospital, according to the officials.
Angry relatives gathered outside the hospital on Wednesday, many of whom held the government responsible for the fire.
The blaze was probably caused by an electrical fault, the health ministry said. Such fires are common in Iraq due to shoddy maintenance and poor wiring while a lack of fire escapes often adds to the danger
Nineteen people are believed to have been treated for burns or smoke inhalation.
Yarmouk Hospital, located in southwest Baghdad, is the second largest in the city.