At least 31 pilgrims die in a rush in the Iraqi holy city of Kerbala during Shiite Muslim commemorations of Ashoura
- At least 31 pilgrims killed in a rush during Ashoura celebrations in Kerbala
- A footbridge partially collapsed towards the end of the Ashoura procession
- The official death toll could rise because around 100 others were injured in an incident
- Annual pilgrimage commemorates the death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson
At least 31 pilgrims were killed after part of a walkway collapsed when tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims celebrated Ashoura in Kerbala, Iraq.
About 100 others were injured when a rush broke out on one of the most holy religious holy days for the Shiite sect, officials said.
The incident occurred towards the end of the Ashoura procession and caused a panic fever, according to two officials speaking from the city of Karbala.
Iraqi Shiite Muslims gather around a tent simulating a scene from the 7th-century battle of Kerbala at a ceremony marking Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10
Iraqi Shiite Muslims burn a tent while simulating a scene from the 7th century battle of Kerbala during a ceremony honoring Ashura in the holy city of Kerbala on September 10
The death toll issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Health was expected to increase, with at least 10 people in critical condition.
The annual pilgrimage that marks the death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson in battle, attracts hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims to Kerbala from all over the world.
The dreary day of Ashoura commemorates the killing of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, the Imam Hussein, by a rival Muslim faction in Karbala in present-day Iraq, in 680 AD.
The death of Hussein in a battle in Kerbala over the leadership of the Islamic community is one of the defining events in the schism between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
Hussein and his descendants are seen by the Shiites as the rightful heirs of the prophet.
The rituals to commemorate Hussein's death concern self-chastisement, with multitudes of mourning heads hitting themselves and some tearing their heads with knives.
Stampedes have occurred in the past.
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