At least 31 die during stampede at Ashura rituals in Iraq's Kerbala

Cheryl Sanders
September 10, 2019

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The shrine stands around 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Baghdad, said spokesman Saif al-Badr, stressing that the toll was not final among those who were there to mark the holy day of Ashura.

The ministry did not disclose how they had been killed but shrine officials told Reuters the stampede took place towards the end of the procession, when thousands of pilgrims rushed towards the shrine during what is known as the Tuwairij run.

More than 30 people were killed and almost 100 injured in Iraq after a stampede was set off while Shiite Muslims celebrated one of the holiest days of the year.

Every year, millions of Shia Muslim pilgrims travel to Karbala for Ashura, which falls on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

Ashura is a Muslim holiday commemorating the death of the prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein, at a battle near Kerbala in the year 680. Hussein's killing has been attributed with cementing the schism between Shiite and Sunni Islam.

On Sunday night, thousands marched toward the holy shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, which had been lit up on the eve of the celebration.

No Iraqi media released images of the walkway collapse or ensuing stampede.

Tuesday's stampede is the deadliest in recent history during Ashura.

As the massive crowds pressed forward, a stampede broke out that left at least 31 people dead and another 100 wounded, according to Iraq's health ministry.

Streets across the country were shuttered Tuesday to allow for funeral-style processions and elaborate re-enactments of the Battle of Karbala.

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