BAGHDAD: At least 31 pilgrims died Tuesday in a stampede at a major shrine in Iraq’s Karbala where they were marking the holy day of Ashura, the health ministry said in a new toll.
Ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said the toll could rise even further, as another 100 people were injured including 10 in critical condition.
The incident happened toward the end of the Ashura procession, causing panic and a stampede.
It is the deadliest stampede in recent history during Ashura when Shia pilgrims from around the world swarm Karbala to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein — Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) grandson.
In 2005, at least 965 pilgrims heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad during a different holiday died after rumours of a suicide bomber in the crowd sparked a mass stampede.
Youm-e-Ashur is being observed across the world including Pakistan with due solemnity to pay homage to the supreme sacrifice rendered by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his devoted companions in Karbala.