One Iranian dead in stampede on Iraq border for Shia Arbaeen pilgrimage
A stampede at the border crossing in the southwestern Khuzestan province on Saturday left dozens of Iranian pilgrims injured as they attempted to cross to Iraq for the Shia religious observation of Arabaeen in Karbala.
Head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, Alireza Rashidian, said in an interview with Iranian state TV on Sunday evening that one of the injured had died.
Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for Hussein ibn Ali, the third Shia Muslim Imam, who was killed in the Iraqi city of Karbala in 680AD.
The Iraqi government allowed only 60,000 Iranian pilgrims to enter for the Arbaeen pilgrimage this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were advised to travel by air instead of land.
The border crossings between Iraq and Iran will now only open for Iranians returning to their country.
Videos shared online showed a large number of Iranian pilgrims forcing the border gates open as Iraqi border guards attempted to hold them back.
Women and children were among those injured, according to reports.
Semi-official Fars News Agency said in a report that Iranians were left without healthcare on both the border.