The Shia Muslim worshippers were participating in an annual ritual during Ashura.
During one of the rituals inside the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala city called the “Tweireej run,” the roof of a basement collapsed leading to the deaths and injuries of dozens, sources said.
According to a statement by Iraq’s Ministry of Health, initial reports indicated that 31 people died and over 100 more were injured.
The ministry said 10 of the wounded are in critical condition.
“The number of causalities is expected to rise,” the statement added.
The ministry confirmed that 16 of the deaths were “due to suffocation and stampede.”
The “Tweireej run” is considered one of the largest gatherings of Shia Muslims in the world.
The ritual is conducted annually in the afternoon on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.
Shia Muslims across the world participate in religious ceremonies on Ashura—a day where Shias mourn the killing of Imam Hussein in the seventh century.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany