Shaima Hassan stood dazed and trembling in shock after losing her two-day-old son. The 36-year old had spent more than a year visiting hospitals in and outside Iraq trying to conceive. "I waited for ages to have this baby and when I finally had him, it took only a second to lose him," she said. A fire broke out Tuesday night and ripped through a maternity ward at a Baghdad hospital, killing 12 newborn babies, government officials said Wednesday. The deadly blaze was likely caused by faulty electrical wiring, reports the AP. By morning, grief-stricken fathers searched for their missing newborns in vain while angry relatives gathered outside the Yarmouk hospital in western Baghdad blamed the government for the tragedy.
At the maternity ward, forensic teams in masks and protective gloves were seen searching through the rubble and charred pieces of furniture. Some of the crying relatives outside claimed their babies were still missing and demanded an answer from authorities. One father, 30-year-old Hussein Omar, said he lost twins in the blaze, a boy and a girl born last week. The hospital told him to go look for them at another Baghdad hospital where some of the patients were moved during the fire. He said he looked and couldn't find them anywhere so he came back to Yarmouk. The hospital staff then told him to go look at the morgue. "I only found charred pieces of flesh," Omar said, crying. "I want my baby boy and girl back. The government must give them back to me." (Read more Iraq stories.)