At least 31 pilgrims lost their lives and dozens more sustained injuries in a stampede during the Muslim religious rituals of Ashura in the Iraqi city of Karbala, the Iraqi Health Ministry says.
Ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr announced the news in a statement on Tuesday, saying the toll could rise further, as another 100 pilgrims were injured, including 10 in critical condition.
Ashura is the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram and is the day when the third Shia Imam and the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Hussein (PBUH), and 72 of his companions were martyred in Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 AD by the army of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I.
Ashura, which is the culmination of a 10-day annual mourning period in Muharram, is also commemorated by Shia Muslims in many countries across the world, including prominently in Iran.
Large crowds of people typically participate in the rituals at the shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH) to commemorate his martyrdom.
-stampede during Ashura rituals