At least 16 people, most of them Iranian pilgrims, were killed in a traffic accident on a road north of Baghdad on Friday night, the Iraqi state news agency INA said.
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The accident occurred between the towns of Dujail and Samarra, INA said, citing Khaled Burhane, director of health services in Salaheddine province.
This “terrible accident” left 16 people dead and 13 injured, Mr Burhane said, without giving further details about the circumstances. According to him, most of the deceased were Shiite pilgrims from Iran.
Every year millions of Shiite pilgrims, including many Iranians, flock to Karbala in central Iraq to attend Arbain, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings that marks the 40th day of mourning over the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and founder of Shiite Islam.
According to the latest figures released by the Iraqi Interior Ministry on Friday, more than 2.6 million pilgrims have entered Iraq through land border crossings or airports since Arbain began.
The event, which culminates on September 6th and 7th this year, is regularly accompanied by traffic accidents in a country with a dilapidated infrastructure.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 4,900 people died in traffic accidents in Iraq in 2022, an average of more than 13 deaths per day.