Two dead and dozens injured after stampede outside football stadium

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Two people have died and several others have been injured in a stampede outside a football stadium in Iraq.

The commotion took place ahead of the final of the Arabian Gulf Cup.

Thousands had gathered outside the Palm Trunk stadium, in the city of Basra, to watch the match between Iraq and Oman unfold.

Video shared on social media shows huge crowds surging as people were pushed together.

The Iraqi interior ministry told Al Jazeera two people had died and around 80 had been in injured in the stampede.

According to local media, thousands of fans had gathered since dawn in the hope of watching the match.

The stampede came after the governor of Basra, Asaad Al Eidani, urged people not to flock to the stadium, especially those without tickets.

He had said: ‘This could lead to a stampede and [the] perfect image of our country, hosting this event, could be tarnished only a few hours before the final ceremony.’

The Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation is considering postponing the final match or moving it to another country if the security situation does not improve, Basra governor Asaad Abdel Amir told Reuters.

The stampede, which also injured 83 people, took place near the gates of the Sports City that was supposed to host the final match, security and medical sources said.

Basra, a city on the Shatt al-Arab in the Arabian Peninsula, has an estimated population of 1.4 million.

The Gulf Cup , which has been held in Basra, is the first major football tournament to be hosted by Iraq in more than 40 years.

Mahmoud Abdelwahed in Basra, reported for Al Jazeera that: ‘according to the Iraqi Football Federation, about 90 percent of the tickets were already sold ahead of the kick off.

‘Tens of thousands [of people] from other countries, especially from the Gulf states have come to Basra and that has already put more pressure on the already weak infrastructure of the city.

‘The authorities say they are lucky to host such special event, but the city is not as fully prepared as it should be. Basra has been suffering from several problems in past decades such a lack of services, security vacuums and a lot of conflicts even recently.’

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