Several hundred killed after stampede in Baghdad

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pilgrims crossed east from Al Kazimiyah (Al Kadimiyah) over A'imma (Al-Aaimmah) bridge.

Ibrahim Jaafari, the Prime Minister of Iraq, has declared that Iraq will hold three days of national mourning following a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad which left nearly a thousand people dead. The railings of a bridge over the River Tigris gave way under the weight of the crowd, and many people fell into the waters below.

CNN now reports the death toll as 965 dead and 465 injured.

The people were walking towards the Kadhimiya mosque, a Shi'ite shrine. They were celebrating the martyrdom of Muslim religious figure Musa Al-Kadhim.

Some sources say the rush happened after a rumor of the presence of a suicide bomber passed through the crowd of up to one million.

Earlier, three to six mortar rounds were fired into the crowd, killing as many as 16 - a US Apache gunship helicopter returned fire on the attackers.