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31 people lost their lives in Iraq shrine stampede: Ministry

BAGHDAD: The health ministry said in a new toll on Tuesday that 31 pilgrims at least, lost their lives in a stampede at a major shrine in Iraq’s Karbala where they were marking the holy day of Ashura.

The spokesperson of ministry Saif al-Badr said that the toll could have increased even further, as another 100 people were injured among which, 10 were in critical condition.

In recent history during Ashura, it is the deadliest stampede when pilgrims from around the world swarm Karbala to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein who is the grandson of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

He was martyred in the year 680 by the forces of the Caliph Yazid.

Packed processions of black-clad worshippers made their way to his gold-domed shrine in Karbala on Tuesday, carrying black flags with “Hussein” written in red and wailing loudly.

Similar events took place in the capital Baghdad and in the southern cities of Najaf and Basra.

In 2005, at least 965 pilgrims lost their lives as they were heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad during a different holiday after rumours of a suicide bomber in the crowd sparked a mass stampede.

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