31 killed after walkway collapse triggers stampede at Iraqi Shiite shrine

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Relatives of one of the victims of a stampede at the Shiite religious ritual of Ashura carry a coffin during a funeral in Kerbala. (Reuters)
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Injured are taken to hospital after a walkway collapsed and set off a stampede as thousands of Shiite Muslims marked one of the most solemn holy days of the year in Karbala, Iraq. (AP Photo)
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Relatives of one of the victims of a stampede at the Shiite Muslim religious ritual of Ashura carry a coffin during a funeral in the holy city of Kerbala, Iraq. (Reuters)
Updated 11 September 2019

31 killed after walkway collapse triggers stampede at Iraqi Shiite shrine

  • Around 100 others were injured in the incident, which occurred toward the end of an Ashoura procession in Karbala
  • The incident took place during the so-called Tweireej run, when tens of thousands of people run toward the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala around noon

BAGHDAD: A walkway collapsed and set off a stampede in the holy city of Karbala on Tuesday as thousands of Shiite Muslims marked one of their holiest days of the year. At least 31 people were killed and about 100 were injured.
It was the deadliest stampede in recent history during Ashoura commemorations, when hundreds of thousands of people converge on the city, some 80 kilometers south of Baghdad, for the occasion every year.
The incident happened toward the end of the Ashoura procession, causing a panicked rush among worshippers near the gold-domed Imam Hussein shrine, according to two officials who spoke to The Associated Press from Karbala.
In recent years, Ashoura processions have been attacked by extremist militants. In 2004, at the height of Iraq's sectarian violence, 143 people were killed in near simultaneous suicide and other bombings at shrines in Baghdad and Karbala during the Ashoura procession.
In 2005, rumors of a suicide bomber among worshippers crossing a bridge during a different religious holiday caused a massive stampede killing more than 950 people, many of whom jumped, in their panic, into the Tigris River.
Tuesday's commemorations were peaceful until the walkway collapsed, triggering the chaos.
The incident took place during the so-called "Tweireej" run, when tens of thousands of people run toward the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala around noon.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of thousands of black-clad pilgrims held Ashoura processions amid beefed-up security in Karbala and in the capital, Baghdad, marching through the streets. 


Militant group says cease-fire reached to fighting in Gaza

Updated 1 min 5 sec ago

Militant group says cease-fire reached to fighting in Gaza

  • Spokesman Musab Al-Berim says the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. Thursday
  • The fighting broke out early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior commander of the militant group

GAZA: A militant group says a cease-fire has been reached to end two days of heavy fighting with Israel.

Spokesman Musab Al-Berim says the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) Thursday.

He says the cease-fire was based on a list of demands presented by his group late Wednesday, including a halt to Israeli targeted killings of the group’s leaders.

Israel will follow suit if Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip stop cross-border attacks, an Israeli official said on Thursday, denying that Israel had changed open-fire policy as demanded by the militant group for a truce.

“Quiet will be answered with quiet,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio. “The State of Israel will not hesitate to strike at those who try to harm it, from the Gaza Strip or from anywhere else.”

The fighting broke out early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior commander of the militant group.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.