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Iraqis Mourn Shi'ite Pilgrims Killed in Baghdad

Iraqis are preparing for mass funerals for Shi'ite pilgrims killed in a stampede during a religious procession in Baghdad Wednesday.

Mourners were gathering Thursday, at funeral tents set up in Shi'ite dominated neighborhoods of the capital, including the suburb of Sadr City. The government has declared three days of mourning.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Thursday that a total of 953 people were killed and 815 were injured in Wednesday's stampede. Earlier, Iraqi officials had put the death toll at 965. Officials say many people are still searching for missing loved ones, and bodies continue to be pulled from the Tigris River.

The stampede erupted when rumors of a suicide bomber swept the massive crowd, triggering panic. Women, children and the elderly were among those trampled or drowned in the river below. But the VOA correspondent in Baghdad says some Iraqi officials and U.S. military personnel are questioning details of the incident.

In other news, the U.S. military says it has conducted another air strike in the western town of Husaybah. A building used by insurgents to plan and launch attacks was destroyed in the strike.