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Qatar says 13 children among dead in mall fire

Qatar's Interior Ministry said 13 children were among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out at one of the Gulf state's fanciest shopping mall on Monday.

Authorities announced the death toll on the ministry's Twitter page Monday evening.

Four teachers and two civil defense officials were among the dead, the ministry said.

Another 17 people, mostly rescue workers, were injured, according to authorities.

Witnesses earlier reported thick black smoke that could be seen pouring from the ritzy Villaggio mall around midday. The Interior Ministry said the fire was extinguished hours later.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Villaggio opened in 2006 and is one of Qatar's most popular shopping and amusement destinations. It includes an ice skating rink and indoor Venice-style gondola rides.

New construction projects such as the Villaggio have transformed the face of once-sleepy Doha in recent years, as the country benefits from a hydrocarbon boom. The OPEC member state is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Qatar won the right to host soccer's 2022 World Cup a year and a half ago.