Rescuers pull 2 more bodies from rubble of shrine landslide

KARBALA, Iraq (AFP) — Two bodies were recovered on Monday from a shrine in Iraq’s Karbala province after a landslide caused it to partially collapse, bringing the overall toll to seven dead, rescue services said.

“Unfortunately, we found this morning two bodies, a man and a woman,” under the rubble of Qattarat al-Imam Ali, Jawdat Abdelrahman, director of the civil defense media department, told AFP.

So far, the bodies retrieved from the site were a child, four women and two men, while three children had been rescued and rushed to hospital.

“We are continuing the search for other victims,” Abdelrahman said, adding that eyewitnesses said that the body of another woman was still under the rubble.

Civil defense spokesperson Nawas Sabah Shaker had said on Sunday that between six and eight pilgrims had been reported trapped under the debris of the shrine, near the Shiite holy city of Karbala.

Rescue workers had searched for two days after the shrine, which sits at the base of high, bare rock walls, was partially buried when earthen embankments collapsed due to saturation from humidity, according to the civil defense.

Rescuers on Sunday drove a bulldozer through the shrine’s entrance, which resembles half a dome ornately decorated with blue tiles covered in Arabic script.

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