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11 detained as death toll from building collapse in Iranian city rises to 14

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Rubble remains from a 10-storey commercial building under construction in the southwestern city of Abadan. (Fars News Agency via AP)

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi says the death toll from a building collapse in Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan has risen to 14.

"According to the latest figures, 14 people died and 32 were injured," rising from Monday's death toll of six, Vahidi said on Tuesday night, following the collapse of the 10-story Metropol commercial building, located in the city of Abadan.

In addition to those confirmed dead or injured, dozens more are  still trapped under the rubble, he said, adding that search efforts continue in a bid to rescue any survivors.

The Metropol Building included two towers, one already built and the other under construction. It partially collapsed on Monday.

The state television said at the time that at least 80 people were trapped under the rubble.

After the incident, many teams of medics and rescue workers were dispatched to the spot to assist with rescue and relief efforts.

An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the collapse.

Provincial authorities declared Wednesday a day of mourning.

Deputy Minister of Health Saeed Karimi said 28 injured were discharged from hospitals in Abadan, adding that only one person is hospitalized in the intensive care unit, after visiting the wounded last night.

Meanwhile, Sadeq Ja’fari Chegani, the public prosecutor of Khuzestan, said 11 people have so far been arrested in the case.  

Chegani said those arrested include the mayor of Abadan, two former mayors, several employees of the municipality of Abadan, and supervisors of the project.

He added that arrest warrants have been issued against many people.

Chegani further noted that the owner and main contractor of the building were among the dead.

Initially, authorities said the building’s owner and its general contractor had been arrested as well, though the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court in the province officially announced Tuesday that the two men had been killed in the collapse.

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