Reports Doha mall fire engineered by Syrian Govt
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 6:00p.m.
By Tom McRae
The Syrian government has been accused of being behind the Doha mall fire that killed 19 people, including New Zealand triplets.
Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based television network says it has proof the Syrian regime planned the Villaggio Mall fire. The father of the triplets says it's incredibly distressing to hear, and wants Prime Minister John Key to step in and find out exactly what happened.
The Wellington triplets – Lillie, Jackson and Willsher – were among those killed when a fire broke out below their childcare centre.
Now their parents want answers.
“It doesn't change anything in the basis of our children have gone, but we need to know what happened,” says father Martin Weekes.
Within days of the fire, Mr Weekes says stories were circulating that the Syrians were behind it. Now the Arabiya news network claims there are secret Syrian government documents detailing how it planned the fire to discredit the Qatari government and describing the operation as a success. It says there are hundreds more documents and it has verified them as genuine.
But a Qatari investigation found the fire was caused by an electrical fault, and authorities arrested five people, including the owner of the mall.
A report has been finished but not made public.
“The report is written,” says Mr Weekes. “It's been given to the cabinet within the country. Circulate it and stop the rumours. Stop giving countries like Syria the advantage at your expense. Disprove it.”
Earlier today the Syrian Foreign Minister spoke at the UN General Assembly, accusing other countries, including Qatar, of terrorism by supporting the rebel army.
“There are a lot of rumours about government and politics in the region and it's really hard to separate fantasy from fact,” says Mr Weekes.
“Nothing I’ve seen to date has indicated anything other that the fire was accidental, but we'll obviously take these reports very seriously and I’ve asked my officials to go away and drill down and have a look to see if there's any merit to these reports,” says Mr Key.
But Mr Weekes says the Prime Minister himself is the only one who'll get answers.
“John Key is the person who needs to pick up the phone because they'll respond to John Key – Prime Minister to Prime Minister asking for that information. As long as it goes through the bureaucracy of government below, it will just get stalled.”
But what once was a tragedy is now being painted as something more sinister – a deliberate attack.
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26/10/2012 12:54:38 p.m.
John Key needs to do more to help the Weekes family find closure. His position makes him the best person for the job. Come on John. This is important.
3/10/2012 3:13:53 a.m.
I cannot believe the Syrian Government would do this. Why would they? I think it would be great for the NZ Government to put this one to rest though. Asking the Syrian Government would help. If they did it, they would say so. If not, they would deny it.
2/10/2012 9:44:11 p.m.
yeah well Cyril look at the countries involved here, not exactly know for human welfare. This has nothing to do with John Key or the New Zealand government, The triplets were not targetted they were in the wrong place at the wrong time which a risk you take being in those countries. Terrible shame.
2/10/2012 8:35:21 p.m.
You would have to be an asshole to purposly do something like this that could be fatal to innocent parties
2/10/2012 7:50:38 p.m.
Does the Dubai government seriously expect anybody to believe this? Don't they typically blame Israeli agents or American spies when this sort of thing happens? This report is just silly, not even worth publishing.
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