Thread: Iraq stampede deaths near 1,000
08-31-2005, 04:47 PM #1
Iraq stampede deaths near 1,000
At least seven people have been killed and 36 injured in a mortar attack against Shia pilgrims in Baghdad, Iraqi officials say.
They said four mortar rounds landed close to the Kadhimiya mosque in the north of the capital.
The shelling occurred as many thousands of Shias were marching to the shrine, marking the anniversary of the death of the seventh imam, Musa al-Kadhim.
So far no group has said it carried out the attack.
"Many women and children were crying as panic broke out after the attacks," an Iraqi army officer was quoted by the AFP news agency.
Unconfirmed reports say about half of the injured were women.
Television pictures showed large crowds of Shia pilgrims gathering at the mosque for the annual commemorative ceremony.
The attack was clearly intended to foment sectarian tensions, the BBC's John Brain in Baghdad says.
Iraqis are currently preparing to vote on a proposed constitution for their country, with Shia and Sunnis sharply divided on its contents.
Wednesday is the last day the majority of Iraqis can register to vote in October's referendum on a new constitution, our correspondent says.
Raids in west
The shelling came a day after US forces carried out a series of air strikes on suspected militant targets on Iraq's border with Syria.
The US military said it believed an al-Qaeda operative known as Abu Islam - an alias used by several militants - was killed in the raids.
At least 47 people died in the strikes, near the western city of Qaim, in which three houses were hit, reports say.
The US military said it had no exact number of casualties.
The area around Qaim is believed by US forces to be a route for foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria.
Iraqi officials earlier said violent clashes had occurred in the area between two rival Sunni Arab tribes, one pro-insurgent and the other loyal to the Iraqi government, over the weekend.
They followed a decision by Sunni leaders to reject the Shia- and Kurd-backed Iraqi draft constitution, approved by parliament on Sunday.
08-31-2005, 05:27 PM #2
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