|2005 Al-Aaimmah bridge stampede|
Pilgrims crossed east from Al Kazimiyah (Al Kadimiyah) over A'imma (Al-Aaimmah) bridge
|Date||August 31, 2005|
|Location||Al-Aaimmah bridge, Baghdad, Iraq|
At the time of the stampede, around one million pilgrims had gathered around or were marching toward Al Kadhimiya Mosque, which is the shrine of the Shi'ite Imam Musa al-Kazim. Tensions had been high within the crowd. Earlier in the day, seven people had been killed and dozens more wounded in a mortar attack upon the assembled crowd for which an Al-Qaeda linked insurgent group claimed responsibility. Near the shrine, rumors of an imminent suicide bomb attack broke out, panicking many pilgrims. Interior Minister Bayan Baqir Solagh said that one person "pointed a finger at another person saying that he was carrying explosives...and that led to the panic".
The panicked crowd flocked to the bridge, which had been closed. Somehow, the gate at their end of the bridge opened, and the pilgrims rushed through. Some people fell onto the concrete base and died instantly. The ensuing crush of people caused many to suffocate. The pressure of the crowd caused the bridge's iron railings to give way, dropping hundreds of people 9 m (30 feet) into the Tigris river. There was nowhere on the bridge for the people to go, as the other end of the bridge remained closed, and was impossible to open anyway, as it opened inward.
Owing to the nature of the incident many of those who died were those who could be considered physically weakest, such as the elderly, women and children.
People dived in from both ends of the bridge trying to help those drowning in the river. On the Sunni side, calls went out from the loudspeakers of local Mosques to help those in trouble. A Sunni Arab teenager, that is Othman Ali Abdul-Hafez (Arabic: عُـثْـمَـان عَـلِي عَـبْـدُ الْـحَـافِـظ, ‘Uthmān ‘Alī ‘Abdul-Ḥāfiẓ) succumbed to exhaustion as he rescued people in the water. Thus he had drowned, and was later praised as a "martyr" by Iraqi politicians.
A three-day mourning period was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said the catastrophe "will leave a scar in our souls and will be remembered with those who died in the result of terror acts." Many of the dead were buried in the holy Shia Islamic town of Najaf.
There was some political fallout also from the event, with Mutalib Mohammad Ali, The Minister for Health, blaming the Defence Ministers for not doing enough to secure the area. However, the Prime Minister dismissed any calls for resignation for any ministry.
After the stampede, a few commentators in the Western media speculated that given the scale of the incident it might tip the country into a civil war by antagonizing the Shi'a community. However, there was no immediate surge in sectarian violence. Opposition groups blamed the government and security forces for failing to prevent the incident. However, these groups themselves often encourage high turn-outs at religious events to prove the relative strength of their sect. Another factor leading to a high turn-out at Shia religious events is the fact such events were banned under Saddam Hussein, and so many attend to express faith in a way they were banned from doing for decades.
Governments and world leaders offered their condolences after the deadly stampede:
Al-Adhamiyah (Arabic: الأعظمية, al-aʿẓamiyyah; BGN: Al A‘z̧amīyah), also Azamiya, is a neighborhood and east-central district of the city of Baghdad, Iraq. It is one of nine administrative districts in Baghdad.
Adhamiyah is located north-west of the city center and is an upscale area. It has 100,000 inhabitants. This area was 85% Sunni, 15% Shi'ite before 2003 and the Iraqi invasion. Now, it serves as one of the few points of refugee for the Sunni minority of Baghdad, and nearly totally Sunni in its religious composition.
The base of the population consists of people with a high intellectual background, whether it be politicians, artists, scholars and even sports figures. The name is a reference to Abū Ḥanīfah an-Nuʿmān, known as al-Imām al-Aʿẓam (Arabic: الإِمَـام الأَعـظَـم, "The Great Imam"), a renowned scholar and founder of the prominent Sunni Hanafī school of Islamic religious jurisprudence. Abu Hanifa Mosque is a prominent landmark, built around the tomb of Abū Ḥanīfah an-Nuʿmān.August 31
August 31 is the 243rd day of the year (244th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 122 days remaining until the end of the year.Baghdad Cup
The Baghdad Cup (Arabic: كأس بغداد) is a friendly football competition hosted by Al-Shaab Stadium and contested between either two of or all four of the four biggest clubs in Baghdad: Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, Al-Shorta, Al-Talaba and Al-Zawra'a. Occurring four times, the competition mainly supported different national events or causes.