AT least one person has died and 60 have been injured after a reported stampede at a football stadium in Iraq.
It isn’t known what caused the stampede, but horror footage shared on social media shows tightly-packed crowds being funnelled towards the entrances of the Basra International Stadium by security.
Thousands of excited supporters had gathered outside the stadium some nine hours before kickoff, due to take place at 4pm GMT.
A medic said: “There has been one death and dozens of slight injuries.”
Regional news site Arab News has reported that there have been calls to postpone the final due to the horror scenes.
The Iraqi prime minister has arrived in Basra and held a meeting with regional leaders after the stampede to assess the situation.
Basra’s governor says negotiations are underway with the Gulf Cup Federation over how to ensure security at the stadium.
It is the first time the Middle Eastern country has hosted the regional football tournament in 40 years due to decades of political instability.
The two-week tournament sees eight Middle Eastern countries compete in two groups of four before the top two teams in each group advance to the semi-finals.
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Iraq beat recent World Cup hosts Qatar 2-1 in Monday’s semi-final to set up a hotly-anticipated final with Oman.
Other countries taking part included Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Yemen.
The tournament also comes on the 20th anniversary of the British and American invasion of Iraq.