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Two more bodies recovered from Iraq shrine after landslide: rescuers

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

The bodies of two pilgrims were pulled from an Iraqi shrine on Monday, two days after a landslide partially collapsed it, killing a total of seven, rescuers 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 are continuing the search for more victims,” ​​Abdelrahman said, adding that eyewitnesses reported that another body, a woman, was 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.

The three previously rescued children are in “good condition” and are being monitored in a hospital, the emergency services said on Sunday.

Search and rescue operations have been carried out since the shrine, which sits at the base of high, bare rock faces, was partially buried when earthworks collapsed on Saturday due to moisture saturation, according to Civil Protection.

– Political paralysis –

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.

Rescue teams said they were working to get oxygen, food and water to people trapped under the rubble before the bodies were found, according to state news agency INA.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh on Sunday urged rescue workers to “make every effort to rescue the trapped people,” while Acting Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi urged his interior minister to oversee operations directly.

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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