At least nineteen people have been killed in a massive fire that broke out at a large shopping and entertainment complex in Qatar's capital city of Doha, local media reports citing officials and witnesses said Monday.
Witnesses were quoted as saying that thick black smoke could be seen billowing out of Doha's Villaggio mall around midday on Monday. It is understood that at least thirteen children were among those killed in the fire.
The Gulf state's Interior Ministry said in a statement posted on its official Twitter page that the fire was extinguished later in the afternoon. Without providing further details, it added that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
The ministry said the building has since been evacuated and urged the public to comply with instructions from relevant authorities and to avoid spreading rumors about the incident.
The Villaggio opened in 2006 and is one of the most popular shopping and recreational complexes in Qatar. It features several facilities including cinemas, shops, a theme park and a Canal that allows visitors to enjoy Venice-style gondola rides.
by RTT Staff Writer
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