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41 die in Kuwait wedding blaze

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 16 – Forty-one people, mainly women and children, were killed when a fire ripped through a wedding party in Kuwait, triggering a stampede, officials said on Sunday.

"The number of dead has reached 41," Kuwaiti fire chief general Jassem Mansuri told the official KUNA news agency.

Health Minister Hilal al-Sayer reported that 76 people had been injured with various degrees of burns, some seriously, in the disaster.

The blaze broke out late on Saturday in a tent reserved for women at a wedding ceremony in Jahra, which lies to the west of the capital Kuwait City.

The two officials hinted that the death toll might rise, with Mansuri talking of a "provisional toll" while Sayer said many of the injured had been admitted to intensive care units of various hospitals in the country.

Mansuri said rescue teams were still sifting through the debris and charred items, searching for more possible casualties, KUNA reported.

An inquiry was opened to determine the exact causes of the disaster but the authorities have already said that most of the victims had fallen during a stampede after the fire broke out.

The victims included many women and children, who gathered in a separate tent from the men to celebrate the wedding.

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