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Iraqi Police Say More Than 600 Killed in Baghdad Stampede


Iraqi police say more than 600 people have been killed in a stampede that broke out Wednesday, near a Shi'ite shrine in Baghdad.

Authorities say some 200 others were injured in the stampede that erupted on a Tigris River bridge when thousands of panicked pilgrims crushed a railing and plunged into the river after a rumor spread that a suicide bomber was in the crowd.

Officials say bodies are still being recovered from the river and that the final death toll could rise.

Earlier, insurgents fired mortar rounds near the shrine, killing at least seven people and wounding 36 others.

Shi'ite pilgrims were gathering at Baghdad's Kadhimiya mosque to mark the anniversary of the death of revered Shi'ite Imam, Mousa al-Kadim.

Tensions have been running high between Iraq's main religious and ethnic communities ahead of a national referendum on the country's new constitution that Sunni Arabs strongly oppose.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.