Mudslide at Shia temple in Iraq kills seven

BAGHDAD—At least seven people, including children, were killed when the roof of a Shiite temple in central Iraq collapsed in a landslide.

Mudslides hit the Qattarat Al Imam Ali temple near the holy city of Karbala, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad on Saturday.

The landslide hit the ceiling of the temple in a natural depression, causing it to cave in and throwing a torrent of rocks and mud inside the building, according to Iraq’s civil defense agency. The entrances, walls and minarets of the shrines built on the water sources in the desert remained intact.

The civil defense said four women, two men and a child were among the dead, adding that search parties had rescued six people. On Monday, rescuers were using bulldozers to clear debris and search for survivors.

The cause of the landslide was not immediately clear. Civil Defense blamed high humidity. Karbala governor Nassif Gassim Al-Khatabi said on Sunday that the shrine area would be closed until an investigation was carried out.

In 2019, as thousands of Shia Muslims were marking Ashora, one of the most solemn days of the religious calendar, when a sidewalk collapsed and a stampede broke out in Karbala, , at least 31 pilgrims were killed and about 100 injured.

Iraq has been mired in a months-long power struggle between rival Shiite blocs, further undermining the country’s interim government and ability to provide basic services.

Associated Press