The bodies of two pilgrims were pulled from an Iraqi shrine on Monday, two days later when a landslide partially collapsed, killing seven people overall.

“Unfortunately, this morning we found the bodies of two people, a man and a woman, under the rubble of Qattarat al-Imam Ali,” Javdat Abdel Rahman, director of the civil defense media department, told AFP. .

So far, the bodies recovered from the scene are 1 child, 4 women and 2 men, and 3 children have been rescued and taken to hospital.

“We are continuing to search for other victims,” ​​Abdelrahman said, adding that witnesses reported that another woman’s body was still under the rubble.

Civil Defense spokesman Nawas Sabah Sheikh said on Sunday that six to eight pilgrims were reported trapped under the rubble of a shrine near the Shia holy city of Karbala.

Three previously rescued children are in “good condition” and are being monitored at the hospital, emergency services said Sunday.

Search and rescue operations have been underway since a shrine at the base of a high, bare rock wall was partially buried when an earthen embankment collapsed on Saturday due to saturation from humidity, according to the Civil Defense Agency. rice field.

– Political paralysis –

It is a recent tragedy to befall oil-rich and impoverished Iraq, which is trying to survive decades of war but is held back by political paralysis, rampant corruption and other challenges.

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

Rescuers said they were working to provide oxygen, food and water to those trapped under the rubble before the bodies were found, state news agency INA said.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh on Sunday called on rescue workers to “mobilize all efforts to save those trapped”, while Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kademi urged the interior minister to directly oversee the operation. .

The damaged shrine is dedicated to Imam Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. He is said to have stopped with his army en route to battle in 657 AD, according to Shia tradition.

It lies in a natural depression about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Karbala, the burial place of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Shiites consider Hussein, who was killed in battle in 680 AD, to be the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad, and this is the central issue of their schism with Sunni Islam.

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