Iraq: At least 40 Muslims engaged in self-flagellation killed in stampede during procession
At least 40 Muslims engaged in self-flagellation were killed in a stampede at the shrine of Imam Hussain in Iraq’s Karbala where they were marking the Shiite day of Ashura.
Another 100 people were injured at the shrine, around 100 kilometers south of Baghdad.
The deadly rush began when part of a walkway collapsed during a procession causing mass panic among worshippers.
It is the deadliest stampede in recent history during Ashura when Shiite Muslims from around the world commemorate the death of Hussein, Mohammed’s grandson, a major event which helped solidify the divide between what would become Sunni and Shiite branches of Muslims.
People in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Lebanon marked the day with rallies, prayers, and self-flagellation.
In 2005, at least 965 pilgrims heading to a shrine in Baghdad during a different holiday died after rumors of a suicide bomber in the crowd sparked a mass stampede.