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Baghdad hospital fire: 11 babies killed in maternity ward

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Burnt incubators stand outside Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad on August 10, 2016 after an overnight fire tore through the maternity ward, killing at least 11 premature babies, medical and security sources said. / AFP / SABAH ARAR (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 11 babies died when a fire broke out in the maternity ward of a Baghdad hospital early Wednesday, the Iraqi Health Ministry said.

The babies were in the pre-term birth unit in Yarmouk Hospital and died of suffocation, said Ahmed al-Rdainy, a spokesman for the ministry.

A preliminary report provided by the Civil Defense indicates the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.

Amateur footage from the scene, circulated on social media, showed nervous families congregating outside the maternity ward. Other footage showed firefighters entering the charred, water-logged building, and ambulances racing victims to other hospitals for treatment.

Twenty-nine women delivered babies at the hospital Tuesday night, the spokesman said. They were all transferred to other hospitals in Baghdad.