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Sixteen Dead, 75 Injured in Stampede at Iraqi Shiite Muslim Shrine

Sixteen Dead, 75 Injured in Stampede at Iraqi Shiite Muslim Shrine”

At least 31 people died and another 102 were wounded on Tuesday (Sept 10) during the Shi'ite Muslim religious rituals of Ashura in Iraq's southern holy city of Kerbala, in what officials at its Imam Hussein shrine described as a stampede.

The day of Ashura is commemorated by Shiite Muslims worldwide and marks the climax of mourning rituals in the Islamic month of Muharram for the 7th century killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

The ministry did not disclose how they had been killed but shrine officials told Reuters the stampede took place towards the end of the procession, when thousands of pilgrims rushed towards the shrine during what is known as the Tuwairij run.

More than 30 people were killed and almost 100 injured in Iraq after a stampede was set off while Shiite Muslims celebrated one of the holiest days of the year.

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Packed processions of black-clad worshippers made their way to his gold-domed shrine in Karbala before the stampede, carrying black flags with "Hussein" written in red while weeping and beating their chests in mourning.

The ministry said around 100 others were wounded in the stampede at the shrine, which is 100km south of Baghdad.

The 2-3 kilometer (1-2 mile) run symbolizes when the 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 had been killed.

It is Iraq's deadliest stampede in recent history during Ashura, whose commemorative marches had previously been targeted by Sunni extremist groups. Numerous worshippers beat their chests and lash themselves with chains in an expression of grief and regret for not being able to help the murdered grandson of the Prophet.



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