The death toll rose to more than 800 this morning after rumors of a suicide bomber led to a stampede in a vast procession of Shiite pilgrims as they crossed a bridge on their way to a shrine in northern Baghdad. Most of the dead were crushed or suffocated, witnesses said, but many also fell or jumped into the Tigris River after the panicking crowd broke through the bridge's railings. At least 841 were killed and at least 323 people were injured, an Interior Ministry official said early this evening in Baghdad.
At least 600 people have been killed in a stampede of Shia pilgrims in northern Baghdad, Iraqi officials say.
The incident happened on a bridge over the Tigris River as about one million Shias marched to a shrine for an annual religious festival.
Witnesses said panic spread because of rumours that suicide bombers were in the crowd. Many victims were crushed to death or fell in the river and drowned.
Earlier mortar rounds had been fired into the crowd, killing 16 people.
About 36 others were injured when four mortar rounds landed close to the Kadhimiya mosque.
The pilgrims were gathering for the annual commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, who died in Baghdad in the late 8th century.
I don't even have any comment on this. I'm not pointing fingers or anything. I'm saying that 800 people dying is a catastrophe by any measure. The insurgents suck for doing this, and the security forces suck for not having better crowd control. Whoever started the rumor sucks.
On the whole, it's just tragic. The death count from Katrina isn't above 800 yet, though it's still climbing.