Seven bodies have been removed from the rubble of a Shiite shrine and the search continues

Five bodies of pilgrims were trapped under the rubble of a Shiite shrine that collapsed during a landslide at its center.‘Iraq was withdrawn, rescue services said on Sunday and continued to search. “We found five bodies,” Civil Defense General Abdelrahman Joudat told AFP after more than 24 hours of clearing rocks, wooden planks and other debris from Imam Ali’s tomb in Kerbala.

On Monday, two new bodies were found. “Unfortunately, this morning we found two bodies, a man and a woman, under the ruins of Imam Ali’s shrine near Karbala,” Jawudat Abdelrahmane told AFP. So far, emergency services have removed seven lifeless bodies from the rubble of the pilgrimage site: four women, two men and a child. Three children were rescued and hospitalized. “We continue to search for victims” in the rubble, Joudat Abdelrahmane continued. “Witnesses told us that a woman’s body was under the rubble”.

“Any mistake will lead to further decline”

Iraqi civil defense spokesman Nawaz Saba Shekhar said a piece of rock broke off “due to high humidity” and fell on the building on Saturday afternoon. The landslide caused “about 30% of the building’s total surface area of ​​100 square meters” to collapse, he explained. State news agency INA quoted rescue workers as saying they were able to send oxygen, food and water to people trapped under the rubble. They also said they maintain verbal contact with victims to “reassure them”.

“We are working hard to reach the trapped people with utmost precision. Any mistake could lead to further collapse,” Abdelrahman Joudat, director of the Civil Defense Media Department, told AFP.

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“We want to know what happened and why.”

A witness told AFP his son-in-law was trapped under the rubble when the “roof collapsed” on Saturday. “I fear that all efforts will be in vain (…). We want to know what happened and why,” he added. Backhoe loaders were busy clearing the rubble during the day on Sunday, an AFP reporter at the scene said. Outside and inside the building, police, The army and men from the Hajd al-Saabi, former paramilitary forces integrated into the Iraqi armed forces, secured the site.

In a tweet, Iraqi President Barham Saleh called on “heroic” rescuers to “mobilize all efforts to save those trapped”. Imam Ali’s Qatarat is located 25 km west of the holy Shia city of Karbala and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. It is dedicated to the nephew of Imam Ali Prophet Muhammad and the founder of Shia Islam. According to Shia tradition, Imam Ali halted here with his army on his way to the Battle of Siffin in 657 and established a spring there.

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