Rescue workers in central Iraq believe that as many as eight pilgrims remain trapped at the Shia holy site
Rescuers have removed four dead bodies from the rubble of a Shia shrine in Iraq that was hit by a landslide on Saturday. At least six pilgrims have been found alive under the rocks and earth, and video footage captured the dramatic rescue of one child.
The Qatarat al-Imam Ali shrine, located near the Iraqi city of Karbala, was buried beneath a deluge of sand and rocks on Saturday, with officials blaming the landslide on the saturation of an embankment behind the building due to high humidity. Around a third of the building, which sits in a natural depression surrounded by high embankments, was destroyed, emergency workers told reporters.
Working through the night, rescuers began removing trapped victims from beneath the rubble. Video footage captured the moment that a child was pulled alive from the scene and stretchered to safety.
Excavators and trucks could be seen removing large rocks from the shrine on Sunday.
Six victims, including three children, were brought to safety in total. However, civil defense official Abdelrahman Jawdat told AFP on Sunday that four bodies had been recovered. Earlier, rescuers told AFP that they were battling to free “between six and eight people” who were still caught beneath the debris.
It is unclear whether the four bodies are included in this number.
The shrine contains a freshwater spring that Shi’ite Muslims believe their first imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib, drank from in the 7th century. Karbala is home to numerous religious sites, and is considered a holy city by Shi’ites, millions of whom travel to the city every year.
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