At least one person dead, scores injured in stampede before Gulf Cup final in Iraq

At least one person dead, scores injured in stampede before Gulf Cup final in Iraq
Fans gathering to watch Iraq take on Oman on Thursday evening were caught in a crush outside the stadium in Basra, leading to at least one death and dozens of injuries.
2 min read
The stampede happened just before the Gulf Cup final in Basra [Getty]

At least one person has been killed and dozens injured when a stampede happened outside a football stadium in Iraq hours before the Gulf Cup final on Thursday, medical and security sources said.

Many of the injured are in a critical condition after this morning's crush.

Conflicting reports are emerging over whether the match can go ahead as planned tonight, as football-loving Iraq hosts the tournament for the first time since 1979.

Thousands of fans without tickets had gathered outside the stadium in the southern Iraqi city of Basra since dawn in the hope of watching the rare home international match between Iraq and Oman which is due to kick off at 7 pm (1600 GMT). 

Videos on social media showed fans thronging from the early morning, pouring towards the stadium despite the already packed avenues.

Decades of insecurity and war have meant Iraqi fans have been starved of international matches being held across the country. 

Prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani is now in Basra, meeting with security forces and assessing preparations. The prime minister tweeted after the stampede, calling on citizens for “ assistance and support” to authorities on the ground to “show the final of the 25th Gulf Cup”. 

More details to follow.