BAGHDAD, Sept 11 (NNN-NINA) – At least 31 Shiite pilgrims were killed and some 100 others wounded on Tuesday, in a stampede in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, in the south of Baghdad, Iraq’s Health Ministry said.
The incident took place in the afternoon, during the major Shiite ritual of Ashura, when thousands of Shiite pilgrims pushed into the entrance of the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad.
The Shiite community commemorates Ashura, which marks the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, who was killed and buried in 680 A.D. in Karbala.
During the past 10 days, up to four million Shiite pilgrims arrived in Karbala from other Iraqi provinces and outside Iraq, to perform the major ritual of Ashura, according to figures announced by the al-Furat al-Awsat Operations Command.
Iraqi televisions aired live footage showing that the streets of Karbala were clearly overcrowded by a large number of black-clad pilgrims, including men, women and children, who waved green, black and red flags while marching on the streets.
The stampede occurred during the Tuwayrij Run, which is part of the major Ashura ritual.
Tuesday (yesterday) was the climax of the ritual of Ashura, which means “10” in Arabic, as the killing of Imam Hussein took place on the 10th day of Muharam, the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar.– NNN-NINA