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[World] Iraq collapse: Bodies pulled from rubble after landslide hits shrine

An aerial picture shows members of Iraqi emergency services scanning the rubble for victims following a landslide at the Qattarat al-Imam Ali shrine on the outskirts of the holy city of Karbala, late on August 20, 2022.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Rescuers worked through the night using floodlights.

Emergency workers in central Iraq are racing to rescue people from a Shia shrine that collapsed.

Four bodies have been pulled from the rubble so far, officials say. Earlier, they said up to eight people were believed to be trapped.

On Saturday an earth mound adjacent to the Qattarat al-Imam Ali shrine gave way as a result of moisture saturation.

The landslide hit the ceiling of the shrine which then collapsed onto visitors.

Three children have been rescued and sent to hospital, emergency services say.

"Any mistake could lead to further collapses," said Abdelrahman Jawdat, a civil defence spokesman.

Working by floodlight through the night, rescue workers fought to free trapped pilgrims.

Teams are trying reach people through "small holes in the large collapsed concrete blocks", Iraqi News Agency (INA) reports.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh took to Twitter to urge rescue workers and volunteers to spare no effort to save those still trapped.

The site of the shrine, located in Iraq's Karbala region, contains a water spring that Shia Muslims believe their first imam Ali ibn Abi Talib drank from in the 7th Century.