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16 killed, 9 injured in apartment building fire in Dubai

A fire swept through an apartment building in an older neighborhood of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, killing at least 16 people and injuring another nine, authorities said Sunday.

The state-linked newspaper The National cited a statement from Dubai Civil Defense provided by the city-state’s Dubai Media Office for the death toll. It said the blaze happened Saturday in Dubai’s Al Ras neighborhood, a tightly knit warren of streets and alleys home to one of its oldest neighborhoods.

Al Ras is also home to the Dubai Spice Market, a major tourist attraction near the Dubai Creek.

Authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

The government statement did not offer a cause, but appeared to hint at a problem in the five-story apartment building leading to the deaths.

Civil Defense “stressed the importance of residential and commercial building owners and residents fully complying with security and safety requirements and guidelines to avoid accidents and protect people’s lives,” the government statement reportedly said.