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Stampede outside stadium in Iraq kills 2, injures dozens

BAGHDAD (AP) — A stampede outside a stadium in southern Iraq killed at least two people and injured dozens Thursday, the state news agency reported.

The deadly incident happened as spectators gathered to attend the final match in the first international soccer tournament held in the country in four decades. The Iraqi News Agency said one person was killed and 60 people who were injured outside the Basra International Stadium some of whom are in critical condition.

A doctor at Basra General Hospital told The Associated Press that two people were killed and 38 were injured, some of whom have been discharged from the hospital.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry in a statement urged people who don’t have tickets for the final match to leave the stadium area. It said that the stadium is full and all gates have been closed.

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani urged people help authorities in order to “show the final match of 25th edition of the Gulf Cup in its most beautiful form.”

INA later reported that giant screens were placed in different public places in Basra so that people can watch the match.

The final match in the eight-nation Arabian Gulf Cup is scheduled to be held later Thursday between Iraq and Oman.

The tournament faced several incidents, including chaos inside the VIP section during which a Kuwaiti prince was not able to attend the opening match earlier this month.

The tournament started on Jan. 6, with teams from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — as well as Yemen and Iraq. It’s the first time since 1979 that Iraq has hosted the tournament.