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Iraqi Shiite holy city mourns stampede deaths of 31 pilgrims

Mourners pray by the coffin of a victim inside the shrine of Imam Abbas after a walkway collapsed and set off a stampede as thousands of Shiite Muslims marked one of the most solemn holy days of the year in the holy city of Karbala, Iraq, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Officials say at least 31 people have died and around 100 others were injured in the chaos Tuesday, which occurred toward the end of the Ashoura procession, causing panic and a stampede, according to two officials. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)

BAGHDAD — The governor of the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Karbala has declared three days of mourning for 31 pilgrims who died in a stampede a day earlier.

At least 100 other people were injured in the stampede, which occurred on Tuesday as tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims marked Ashoura, one of the most solemn days of the year for the sect, when worshippers from all over converge on Karbala.

It was the deadliest stampede in recent history during Ashoura commemorations.

The governor of Karbala, Nassif al-Khattabi, on Wednesday declared the mourning period. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi also visited the city after the incident. Karbala is about 80 kilometres, or 50 miles, south of Baghdad.

Officials say most of the injured have left hospital; nine remain in critical condition.

The Associated Press