Over a dozen people, including an official of Iran’s Armed Forces, have died in accidents related to the massive Iranian pilgrimage to Iraq’s Karbala, encouraged and supported by the government.
Iran’s Red Crescent Society announced on Saturday that four Arbaeen pilgrims died in the Iraqi city of Hillah after a van overturned.
Moreover, the head of the society said a passenger bus explosion in Iraq's Babylon province has killed at least 11 and injured 30 others. All the dead were Iranian nationals, Tehran's ambassador confirmed.
An official of the Army’s Foundation for the Preservation and Publication of Sacred Defense Works and Values, Taghi Hosseini, also died along with his wife in another accident near the Mehran border crossing.
On Friday, the Red Crescent Society announced that at least nine Iranians died on their way to the Iraqi city of Karbala for the Shiite religious event. Three more Iranians died earlier in the week in Iraq's Wasit Governorate, which borders the Islamic Republic.
The pilgrimage has turned into an embarrassing debacle due to the government’s mismanagement of the event. Pilgrims have been stranded at dangerously overcrowded border checkpoints and on the roads in the past few days.
Social media is full of posts and videos of people complaining about the crowded border crossings with insufficient facilities.
A lawmaker said on Saturday that the government's mismanagement is "evident" in the incidents during the Arbaeen ceremony, blaming authorities, the interior ministry in particular, for the mishaps and mayhem.