Baghdad Stampede Kills 648

A stampede apparently caused when someone shouted “suicide bomber” on a crowded bridge has killed at least 648 people in Baghdad.

648 dead in Baghdad stampede (CNN)

At least 648 people have been killed and 322 others injured in a stampede on a bridge near a Shiite mosque in northern Baghdad, police sources said. Most of those killed were women and children, sources said.

According to witnesses, the stampede started after someone screamed that a suicide bomber was in the crowd of pilgrims gathered for a religious commemoration Wednesday. A railing on the bridge then collapsed under the crush of people, and hundreds fell to their deaths in the Tigris River about 30 meters (yards) below, CNN’s Jennifer Eccleston reported. According to police, some people were crushed to death but most drowned. Police expect the death toll to rise as they continue to pull bodies from the river. The dead and wounded inundated five hospitals in the Kadhimiya area.

The stampede took place at about 11:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. EDT) near the Kadhimiya mosque, where pilgrims were gathered to commemorate the death of Imam Moussa al-Khadhem, a prominent figure in Shiite history who is buried at the Kadhimiya mosque.

One hopes this wasn’t someone’s idea of a joke.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.