841 dead in Baghdad

In an enormous tragedy that reveals the climate of terror in Iraq:


Deaths mounted steadily in northeast Baghdad after a massive midday Shiite religious procession erupted into a chaotic stampede Wednesday, causing the drowning and trampling deaths of 841 pilgrims.
Authorities believe a rumor raced through the crowd that a suicide bomber was in their midst, and that created panic among the waves of pedestrians trying to cross the Al-A'imma bridge over the Tigris River. The throngs of Shiite faithful had been stopped by security checks and bogged down by concrete barriers. [LINK thanks to Jeff Renshaw]
Stampedes have occured in other religious shrines, including Mecca and temples in India. But the cause for this particular tragedy hits home more than others.
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