Two killed in stampede ahead of Gulf football final match in Iraq

Two Iraqi football fans died and dozens wounded on Thursday during a stampede at the gates of Basra Stadium, which will host the final match of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup between Iraq and Oman.

“Very large numbers of football fans arrived at the stadium hours before the start of the match, and a stampede occurred at the gates, killing two fans and injuring more than 65 others,” an Iraqi colonel from Basra Operations Command said on condition of anonymity.

The security services are trying to prevent the fans from entering the stadium after their numbers surpassed the stadium’s maximum capacity of 65,000 persons, the source added.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani arrived in Basra Province and held an immediate meeting with the provincial governor and other senior officials to supervise the preparations for the final match of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup, according to a statement by al-Sudani’s media office, a Xinhua report said.

On January 16, six people were killed and 22 others wounded when a bus carrying Iraqi football fans collided with a truck because of heavy fog on a highway between the provinces of Dhi Qar and Basra, where the fans were en route to watch the Iraqi national team’s match against Qatar in the semi-finals of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup.

The 25th Arabian Gulf Cup started on January 6 in Basra, with the final set to be played on January 19.

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