As if it wasn’t bad enough that New Orleans is eating itself alive, there was another catastrophe in Iraq yesterday.
The Baghdad bridge stampede occurred on August 31, 2005 when up to 1,000 people died following a stampede on Al-Aaimmah bridge, which crosses the Tigris river in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
At the time of the stampede around one million pilgrims had gathered and were marching toward the shrine of the Imam Musa al-Kazim, one of the twelve Shi’a Imams. Rumours of a suicide bomb attack broke out and panic spread. 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 meters (about 30 feet) into the Tigris river.
Tensions had been high within the crowd. Earlier in the day, seven people were killed and dozens more were wounded in a mortar attack; an Al-Qaeda linked group later claimed responsibility.
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”.
Update: CNN is covering it, too, but it certainly wasn’t headline news.
However, I’ve yet to see anything about this propagate through the blogosphere. Everyone’s preoccupied with Katrina, I guess, which is understandable since it’s ongoing.