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Golf-Cup-Finale im Irak: Todesopfer bei Massenpanik vor Stadion

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As of: 01/19/2023 4:07 p.m

Thousands wanted to see the final of the golf cup without a ticket. A mass panic broke out in front of the football stadium in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Dozens of people were injured and at least one died.

A stampede ahead of a soccer match between Iraq and Oman has left dead. The information on the number of victims varies: some agencies say one person was killed, others four who died in the crush. Dozens were injured, some seriously.

According to the Interior Ministry, thousands of fans gathered in front of the soccer stadium in the southern Iraqi city of Basra in the morning. Many of the visitors did not have a ticket but still wanted to see the rare international game.

The final should still take place

A large crowd tried to enter the stadium, but the stadium gates were locked, according to the AFP news agency. According to the Iraqi news agency INA, at least 60 people were injured and some of their condition was life-threatening.

The final of the golf cup should still take place in Basra in the evening as planned. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani had discussed “special measures” at a crisis meeting to enable an undisturbed final. Security forces set up special fan zones where crowds outside the stadium can watch the game on screens.

Rescue workers carry an injured person to the security area. Image: AFP

Tournament is important for Iraq

The tournament pits the eight Gulf States against each other – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Iraq. The Iraqi national team defeated favorites Saudi Arabia, sparking excitement across the country.

The game is of great importance for the country: it is the first time since 1979 that the Gulf States tournament will be played in Iraq again. Iraq wants to use the cup to polish its image after international games could not be held in the country due to crises and conflicts.

However, there were already logistical problems at the opening ceremony on January 6th: Among other things, countless fans despite tickets as well as accredited journalists were denied access to the stadium without giving reasons.

Dead and injured in crowds at stadium in Iraq

Anna Osius, ARD Cairo, 19.1.2023 2:52 p.m

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