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Karbala stampede death toll reaches 31, 100 injured

Karbala: More than 31 people died in a stampede in the Iraqi city of Karbala on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said.

According to the health ministry, 31 people died and above 100 were injured in a stampede on Tuesday in the Iraqi city of Karbala. It is reported to be one of the deadliest stampedes in recent history during Ashura.

Shia pilgrims from around the world visit the city of Karbala to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) grandson.

He was martyred in the year 680 by the forces of then ruler Yazid, a major event which helped solidify the divide between what would become Islam’s Sunni and Shia branches.

It was during ex-dictator Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime, the vast majority of Ashura commemorations were banned. Now, the day is a national holiday, with streets across the country shuttered to allow for re-enactments of the Battle of Karbala.
In 2005, at least 965 pilgrims heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad during a different holiday died after rumors of a suicide bomber in the crowd sparked a mass stampede.

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