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  •  Rescue workers searched through the rubble of a Shiite Muslim shrine in central Iraq into Sunday night after a landslide killed at least five people including a child After more than 24 hours of digging through collapsed rocks wood and other debris we have found five bodies civil defence General Abdelrahman Jawdat told AFP That could be the final toll he added while digging continued in case there were other victims It is the latest tragedy to befall oil rich but poverty stricken Iraq which is trying to move past decades of war but is hobbled by political paralysis endemic corruption and other challenges Civil defence spokesman Nawas Sabah Shaker said earlier that between six and eight pilgrims had been reported trapped under the debris of the shrine known as Qattarat al Imam Ali near the city of Karbala Rescuers drove a bulldozer through the shrine s entrance which resembles half a dome ornately decorated with blue tiles covered in Arabic script The sacred building flanked by two minarets sits at the base of high bare rock walls Part of its concrete roof had been torn apart Jawdat said rescuers had recovered the bodies of two women a man and a child and were working to free the corpse of the fifth victim another woman whom they had located Armed security forces guarded the shrine entrance while rescuers worked inside and onlookers watched from behind a metal fence Three children were rescued earlier following the Saturday afternoon disaster emergency services had said adding that they were in good condition and being monitored in a hospital Rescue teams working through the night Saturday were able to provide supplies of oxygen as well as food and water to some of those trapped through gaps in the rubble state news agency INA said Mobilise all efforts Iraqi President Barham Saleh on Twitter called on the heroic rescue workers to mobilise all efforts to save the trapped people Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhemi urged his interior minister to directly supervise the rescue on the ground and wished the injured a swift recovery Emergency responders had said earlier they were maintaining verbal contact with the victims to reassure them We are working hard with the utmost precision to reach those trapped Jawdat director of the civil defence media department had said Any mistake could lead to further collapses One man at the scene Bassem Khazali said his nephew was among those buried I am afraid that all the efforts undertaken will be in vain We want to know what happened why it happened Khazali told AFP Civil defence spokesman Shaker told AFP that sand dunes and rocks collapsed onto the shrine building blaming humidity The stricken shrine is dedicated to Imam Ali the son in law of the Prophet Mohammed who according to Shiite tradition stopped there with his army on his way to a battle in AD 657 It is located in a natural depression about 25 kilometres 15 miles west of Karbala the Shiite holy city which is the burial place of Imam Hussein grandson of the Prophet Mohammed Shiites view Hussein who died in battle in AD 680 as the rightful successor to the Prophet Mohammed the issue at the heart of a schism with Sunni Islam
    Five pilgrims killed in landslide at Iraq Muslim shrine
     Rescue workers searched through the rubble of a Shiite Muslim shrine in central Iraq into Sunday night after a landslide killed at least five people including a child After more than 24 hours of digging through collapsed rocks wood and other debris we have found five bodies civil defence General Abdelrahman Jawdat told AFP That could be the final toll he added while digging continued in case there were other victims It is the latest tragedy to befall oil rich but poverty stricken Iraq which is trying to move past decades of war but is hobbled by political paralysis endemic corruption and other challenges Civil defence spokesman Nawas Sabah Shaker said earlier that between six and eight pilgrims had been reported trapped under the debris of the shrine known as Qattarat al Imam Ali near the city of Karbala Rescuers drove a bulldozer through the shrine s entrance which resembles half a dome ornately decorated with blue tiles covered in Arabic script The sacred building flanked by two minarets sits at the base of high bare rock walls Part of its concrete roof had been torn apart Jawdat said rescuers had recovered the bodies of two women a man and a child and were working to free the corpse of the fifth victim another woman whom they had located Armed security forces guarded the shrine entrance while rescuers worked inside and onlookers watched from behind a metal fence Three children were rescued earlier following the Saturday afternoon disaster emergency services had said adding that they were in good condition and being monitored in a hospital Rescue teams working through the night Saturday were able to provide supplies of oxygen as well as food and water to some of those trapped through gaps in the rubble state news agency INA said Mobilise all efforts Iraqi President Barham Saleh on Twitter called on the heroic rescue workers to mobilise all efforts to save the trapped people Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhemi urged his interior minister to directly supervise the rescue on the ground and wished the injured a swift recovery Emergency responders had said earlier they were maintaining verbal contact with the victims to reassure them We are working hard with the utmost precision to reach those trapped Jawdat director of the civil defence media department had said Any mistake could lead to further collapses One man at the scene Bassem Khazali said his nephew was among those buried I am afraid that all the efforts undertaken will be in vain We want to know what happened why it happened Khazali told AFP Civil defence spokesman Shaker told AFP that sand dunes and rocks collapsed onto the shrine building blaming humidity The stricken shrine is dedicated to Imam Ali the son in law of the Prophet Mohammed who according to Shiite tradition stopped there with his army on his way to a battle in AD 657 It is located in a natural depression about 25 kilometres 15 miles west of Karbala the Shiite holy city which is the burial place of Imam Hussein grandson of the Prophet Mohammed Shiites view Hussein who died in battle in AD 680 as the rightful successor to the Prophet Mohammed the issue at the heart of a schism with Sunni Islam
    Five pilgrims killed in landslide at Iraq Muslim shrine
    Foreign3 months ago

    Five pilgrims killed in landslide at Iraq Muslim shrine

    Rescue workers searched through the rubble of a Shiite Muslim shrine in central Iraq into Sunday night, after a landslide killed at least five people including a child.

    After more than 24 hours of digging through collapsed rocks, wood and other debris, “we have found five bodies,” civil defence General Abdelrahman Jawdat told AFP.

    “That could be the final toll,” he added while digging continued in case there were other victims.

    It is the latest tragedy to befall oil-rich but poverty-stricken Iraq, which is trying to move past decades of war but is hobbled by political paralysis, endemic corruption and other challenges.

    Civil defence spokesman Nawas Sabah Shaker said earlier that between six and eight pilgrims had been reported trapped under the debris of the shrine, known as Qattarat al-Imam Ali, near the city of Karbala.

    Rescuers drove a bulldozer through the shrine’s entrance, which resembles half a dome ornately decorated with blue tiles covered in Arabic script.

    The sacred building, flanked by two minarets, sits at the base of high, bare rock walls.

    Part of its concrete roof had been torn apart.

    Jawdat said rescuers had recovered the bodies of two women, a man and a child, and were working to free the corpse of the fifth victim, another woman whom they had located.

    Armed security forces guarded the shrine entrance while rescuers worked inside and onlookers watched from behind a metal fence.

    Three children were rescued earlier following the Saturday afternoon disaster, emergency services had said, adding that they were in “good condition” and being monitored in a hospital.

    Rescue teams working through the night Saturday were able to provide supplies of oxygen, as well as food and water to some of those trapped through gaps in the rubble, state news agency INA said.

    – ‘Mobilise all efforts‘ –Iraqi President Barham Saleh on Twitter called on the “heroic” rescue workers to “mobilise all efforts to save the trapped people”.

    Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi urged his interior minister to directly supervise the rescue on the ground and wished the injured a swift recovery.

    Emergency responders had said earlier they were maintaining verbal contact with the victims “to reassure them”.

    “We are working hard, with the utmost precision, to reach” those trapped, Jawdat, director of the civil defence media department, had said.

    “Any mistake could lead to further collapses.

    ” One man at the scene, Bassem Khazali, said his nephew was among those buried.

    “I am afraid that all the efforts undertaken will be in vain… We want to know what happened, why it happened,” Khazali told AFP.

    Civil defence spokesman Shaker told AFP that “sand dunes and rocks collapsed onto the shrine building”, blaming humidity.

    The stricken shrine is dedicated to Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, who according to Shiite tradition stopped there with his army on his way to a battle in AD 657.

    It is located in a natural depression about 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Karbala, the Shiite holy city which is the burial place of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

    Shiites view Hussein, who died in battle in AD 680, as the rightful successor to the Prophet Mohammed, the issue at the heart of a schism with Sunni Islam.

  •  The United Nations mission in Iraq called on leaders Wednesday to put their country first and end a long running political power struggle as tensions soar in the war scarred nation Nearly 10 months on from elections the oil rich country still has no government and no new prime minister or president We appeal to all actors to commit actively engage and agree on solutions without delay the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq UNAMI said in a statement Leaders must prioritise the national interest it said On Wednesday followers of powerful Shiite Muslim preacher and political kingmaker Moqtada Sadr continued a mass sit in at parliament for a fifth day The Sadr bloc opposes a nomination for prime minister by the Coordination Framework a rival Iran backed Shiite faction Outgoing prime minister Mustafa al Kadhemi has called for a national dialogue in a bid to bring all sides together to talk and on Wednesday spoke with President Barham Saleh Both men stressed the importance of guaranteeing security and stability in the country according to the Iraqi News Agency Meaningful dialogue among all Iraqi parties is now more urgent than ever as recent events have demonstrated the rapid risk of escalation in this tense political climate the UN mission warned On Tuesday a top Sadrist official gave followers 72 hours to shift their protests from the main meeting halls of parliament to the entrance of the building and a surrounding encampment Iraq is facing an extensive list of outstanding domestic issues it is in desperate need of economic reform effective public service delivery as well as a federal budget to name a few the UN added Hence it is past time for political stakeholders to assume their responsibilities and act in the national interest Iraq is the second largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and derives 90 percent of federal revenue from oil But it has still not adopted its budget for 2022 In June parliament passed an emergency finance bill to ensure gas supplies and buy grain for food security
    UN calls for ‘urgent’ solutions to Iraq political crisis
     The United Nations mission in Iraq called on leaders Wednesday to put their country first and end a long running political power struggle as tensions soar in the war scarred nation Nearly 10 months on from elections the oil rich country still has no government and no new prime minister or president We appeal to all actors to commit actively engage and agree on solutions without delay the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq UNAMI said in a statement Leaders must prioritise the national interest it said On Wednesday followers of powerful Shiite Muslim preacher and political kingmaker Moqtada Sadr continued a mass sit in at parliament for a fifth day The Sadr bloc opposes a nomination for prime minister by the Coordination Framework a rival Iran backed Shiite faction Outgoing prime minister Mustafa al Kadhemi has called for a national dialogue in a bid to bring all sides together to talk and on Wednesday spoke with President Barham Saleh Both men stressed the importance of guaranteeing security and stability in the country according to the Iraqi News Agency Meaningful dialogue among all Iraqi parties is now more urgent than ever as recent events have demonstrated the rapid risk of escalation in this tense political climate the UN mission warned On Tuesday a top Sadrist official gave followers 72 hours to shift their protests from the main meeting halls of parliament to the entrance of the building and a surrounding encampment Iraq is facing an extensive list of outstanding domestic issues it is in desperate need of economic reform effective public service delivery as well as a federal budget to name a few the UN added Hence it is past time for political stakeholders to assume their responsibilities and act in the national interest Iraq is the second largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and derives 90 percent of federal revenue from oil But it has still not adopted its budget for 2022 In June parliament passed an emergency finance bill to ensure gas supplies and buy grain for food security
    UN calls for ‘urgent’ solutions to Iraq political crisis
    Foreign4 months ago

    UN calls for ‘urgent’ solutions to Iraq political crisis

    The United Nations mission in Iraq called on leaders Wednesday to put their country first and end a long-running political power struggle, as tensions soar in the war-scarred nation.

    Nearly 10 months on from elections, the oil-rich country still has no government and no new prime minister or president.

    “We appeal to all actors to commit, actively engage and agree on solutions without delay”, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement.

    “Leaders must prioritise (the) national interest,” it said.

    On Wednesday, followers of powerful Shiite Muslim preacher and political kingmaker Moqtada Sadr continued a mass sit-in at parliament for a fifth day.

    The Sadr bloc opposes a nomination for prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a rival, Iran-backed Shiite faction.

    Outgoing prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi has called for a “national dialogue” in a bid to bring all sides together to talk, and on Wednesday spoke with President Barham Saleh.

    Both men stressed the importance of “guaranteeing security and stability” in the country, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

    “Meaningful dialogue among all Iraqi parties is now more urgent than ever, as recent events have demonstrated the rapid risk of escalation in this tense political climate,” the UN mission warned.

    On Tuesday, a top Sadrist official gave followers 72 hours to shift their protests from the main meeting halls of parliament to the entrance of the building and a surrounding encampment.

    “Iraq is facing an extensive list of outstanding domestic issues: it is in desperate need of economic reform, effective public service delivery as well as a federal budget — to name a few,” the UN added.

    “Hence, it is past time for political stakeholders to assume their responsibilities and act in the national interest.

    ” Iraq is the second largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and derives 90 percent of federal revenue from oil.

    But it has still not adopted its budget for 2022.

    In June, parliament passed an emergency finance bill, to ensure gas supplies and buy grain for “food security”.

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