Two people were killed and 80 injured in a stampede outside the national football stadium in the southern Iraqi city of Basra ahead of the Arab Gulf Cup final. The final match between Iraq and Oman was scheduled for 7pm local time on Thursday. Al-Jazeera news.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry confirmed two people were killed and around 80 injured after a stampede at the Palm Trunk Stadium in Basra.
A huge crowd had gathered since early morning hoping to watch the rare domestic international match between Iraq and Oman. Iraq has hosted an international tournament after a long ban. Medical officials and security sources confirmed the death and injuries.
According to the Iraqi Football Federation, about 90 percent of tickets were sold before kick-off. This has made many Iraqi football fans mad, especially those from other provinces.
An AFP photographer said the turnstiles to enter the stadium were still closed when the stampede happened. Sirens blare as ambulances arrive to take the injured to hospital. Iraqi military forces stationed outside the field tried to control the crowd.
Iraq was banned from hosting international football matches after decades of violence and political instability. This is the first time since 1979 that Iraq has hosted the Arab Gulf Cup. It was intended to improve the country’s image after decades of violence and political instability.
But the country’s officials have already been forced to apologize after several organizational errors.
Iraq was already forced to apologize to its neighbor Kuwait after a clash in the VIP section prevented its leader’s representative from attending the opening ceremony earlier this month.