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At least 31 pilgrims die in stampede at Iraqi holy city of Kerbala during Ashoura

At least 31 pilgrims die in stampede at Iraqi holy city of Kerbala during Shi’ite Muslim commemorations of Ashoura

  • At least 31 pilgrims killed in stampede during Ashoura celebrations in Kerbala
  • A walkway partially collapsed towards the end of the Ashoura procession
  • Official death toll could rise as around 100 others were left injured in incident 
  • Annual pilgrimage commemorates death of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson 

At least 31 pilgrims have been killed after part of a walkway collapsed as tens of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims celebrated Ashoura in Iraq’s Kerbala. 

Around 100 others were injured as a stampede broke out on one of the most sacred religious holy days for the Shiite sect on Tuesday, officials said. 

The incident occurred towards the end of the Ashoura procession, causing a panicked rush, according to two officials speaking from the city of Karbala. 

Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims take part in a mourning procession on the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram which marks the day of Ashura, in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10. At least 31 pilgrims have been killed Tuesday after part of a walkway collapsed

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims take part in a mourning procession on the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram which marks the day of Ashura, in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims take part in a mourning procession on the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram which marks the day of Ashura, in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims burn a tent as they re-enact a scene from the 7th Century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims burn a tent as they re-enact a scene from the 7th Century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

The death toll released by the Iraqi Health Ministry was expected to rise, with at least 10 people in critical condition.  

The annual pilgrimage marking the death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson in battle draws hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims to Kerbala from around the world.

The sombre day of Ashoura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, the Imam Hussein, by a rival Muslim faction in Karbala in present day Iraq, in 680 AD.

Hussein’s death in a battle at Kerbala over the leadership of the Islamic community is one of the defining events in the schism between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims. 

Hussein and his descendants are seen by Shiites as the rightful heirs to the prophet. 

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims gather around a tent as they re-enact a scene from the 7th Century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims gather around a tent as they re-enact a scene from the 7th Century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10 

The rituals commemorating the death of Hussein involve self-flagellation, with crowds of mourners striking themselves and some lacerating their heads with blades. 

Stampedes have occurred in the past. 

Earlier in the day, hundreds of thousands held Ashoura processions amid beefed-up security in Karbala and in the capital, Baghdad, marching through the streets.

Many of the faithful beat their chests and lashed themselves with chains in a symbolic expression of grief and regret for not being able to help Hussein before his martyrdom.

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.

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims burn a tent as they re-enact a scene from the 7th Century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims burn a tent as they re-enact a scene from the 7th Century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10

 

  



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