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Two more bodies recovered from Iraq shrine after landslide: rescuers

#bodies #recovered #Iraq #shrine #landslide #rescuers

Two bodies were recovered Monday from a shrine in Iraq’s Karbala province after a landslide partially collapsed it, bringing the total death toll to seven, emergency services said.

“Unfortunately this morning we found two bodies, a man and a woman,” Jawdat Abdelrahman, director of the Civil Defense media department, told AFP under the rubble of Qattarat al-Imam Ali.

So far, the bodies recovered from the site were one child, four women and two men, while three children had been rescued and taken to hospital.

“We continue the search for more victims,” ​​Abdelrahman said, adding that eyewitnesses said another woman’s body was still under the rubble.

Civil Defense spokesman Nawas Sabah Shaker said Sunday that between six and eight pilgrims were trapped under the rubble of the shrine near the Shia holy city of Karbala.

Rescuers searched for two days after the shrine, located at the base of high, bare rock faces, was partially buried when earthworks collapsed due to moisture saturation, according to Civil Defense.

It’s the latest tragedy in oil-rich but poverty-stricken Iraq, which is trying to emerge from decades of war but is hampered by political paralysis, endemic corruption and other challenges.

Rescuers on Sunday drove a bulldozer through the shrine’s entrance, which resembles a half-dome intricately decorated with blue tiles covered in Arabic script.

The devastated shrine is dedicated to Imam Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, who according to Shia tradition stopped there with his army on the way to battle in 657 AD.

It lies in a natural depression about 25 kilometers west of Karbala, the burial site of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Shia consider Hussein, who died in battle in AD 680, to be the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad, the issue at the heart of a split with Sunni Islam.

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