Ashura Day procession: At least 31 dead after walkway collapses causing stampede in Karbala, Iraq


Ashura Day procession: At least 31 dead after walkway collapses causing stampede in Karbala, Iraq

2019/09/11 | 02:55 - Source: Iraq News

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)-

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At least 31 pilgrims have died in Iraq after part of a walkway collapsed causing a stampede on one of the most sacred religious holy days for the Shi'ite sect, officials said.

Tens of thousands of people were commemorating Ashura in the city of Karbala when the panicked rush broke out. 

Around 100 others were injured in the incident, which occurred towards the end of the Ashura procession, two city officials said. 

Hundreds of thousands of people converge on the holy city, some 50 miles south of Baghdad, for the occasion every year.

Pilgrims congregate for Ashoura across Iraq - In pictures

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Iranian Shiite Muslims burn a tent during the reenactment of the Battle of Karbala.

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Shiite Muslims perform a ritual as they take part in a religious procession

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Iranian Shiite Muslims take part in the reenactment of the Battle of Karbala

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Shiite Muslims gather outside the golden-domed shrine of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim during a Muharram procession in Baghdad

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Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Muslims mourn around a model of the tomb of Hussein, during a ceremony marking Ashura in Tehran

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Iraqi Shiite 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 Karbala.

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Iraqi Shiite 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 Karbala.

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Saudi Shiite Muslim men attend a mourning prayer on the eve of Ashura

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Children, wearing makeup and costumes, dance during a carnival marking the day of Ashura.

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A man belonging to the Shiite Muslim community seeks blessings for his baby during the Muharram procession which marks the day of Ashura in Bangalore

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Shiite Muslim offer noon prayers during a procession on the tenth day of Muharram, which marks the day of Ashura, in Karachi.

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Shiite Muslim march during a procession on the tenth day of Muharram.

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Shiite Muslims take out a Tajiya or tableau (symbolic coffin) during a Muharram procession on the tenth day of Ashura in Allahabad

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AP

2/15

AP

3/15

Iranian Shiite Muslims burn a tent during the reenactment of the Battle of Karbala.

AFP/Getty Images

4/15

Shiite Muslims perform a ritual as they take part in a religious procession

AFP/Getty Images

5/15

Iranian Shiite Muslims take part in the reenactment of the Battle of Karbala

AFP/Getty Images

6/15

Shiite Muslims gather outside the golden-domed shrine of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim during a Muharram procession in Baghdad

AP

7/15

Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Muslims mourn around a model of the tomb of Hussein, during a ceremony marking Ashura in Tehran

AP

8/15

Iraqi Shiite 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 Karbala.

AFP/Getty Images

9/15

Iraqi Shiite 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 Karbala.

AFP/Getty Images

10/15

Saudi Shiite Muslim men attend a mourning prayer on the eve of Ashura

AFP/Getty Images

11/15

Children, wearing makeup and costumes, dance during a carnival marking the day of Ashura.

AFP/Getty Images

12/15

A man belonging to the Shiite Muslim community seeks blessings for his baby during the Muharram procession which marks the day of Ashura in Bangalore

AFP/Getty Images

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Shiite Muslim offer noon prayers during a procession on the tenth day of Muharram, which marks the day of Ashura, in Karachi.

AFP/Getty Images

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Shiite Muslim march during a procession on the tenth day of Muharram.

AFP/Getty Images

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Shiite Muslims take out a Tajiya or tableau (symbolic coffin) during a Muharram procession on the tenth day of Ashura in Allahabad

AFP/Getty Images

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 Hussein in battle in 680 draws hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite Muslims to Kerbala from around the world.

Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims take part in a mourning procession on the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram.

(AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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.

Iranian and Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims mourn in a ceremony marking Ashura.

(AP)

In recent years, Ashura processions have been attacked by extremist Sunni militants but Tuesday's commemorations were peaceful until the walkway collapsed.

The incident took place during the so-called Tweireej run, when tens of thousands of people run towards the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala around noon.

The run symbolises when maternal cousins of Imam Hussein's half-brother al-Abbas ran from the nearby village of Tweireej to rescue him only to find out that he was killed.

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 towards the holy shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, which had been lit up on the eve of the celebration.

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