Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A stampede of horror in Baghdad

A stampede on a Baghdad bridge has left over 800 people, mostly women and children, dead, and the death toll may end up topping 1,000 (see here):

Witnesses said the stampede started after someone screamed that a suicide bomber was in the crowd of pilgrims heading to the Kadhimiya mosque [to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Moussa al-Khadhem, a prominent figure in Shiite history] in northern Baghdad.

A railing on the bridge then collapsed under the crush of people, and hundreds fell to their deaths in the Tigris River...

Health Minister Abdul Muttalib Ali confirmed that "the chaos that happened at the Al-A'imma bridge" began because of a "rumor" of a bombing.

"This led to a very horrible chaos," he said, causing people "to run in an uncontrolled way and this led to suffocation of so many people and drowning of some of them in the river."

The incident took place three hours after a mortar attack near the same mosque killed seven people and wounded 36 others, police said.

Horrible. Absolutely horrible. "The tragedy was the single biggest loss of life known in Iraq since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion." (See here for more.)

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