Dozens of Iraqis injured in post-match celebration

Baghdad, June 15:

At least 39 people were wounded by stray bullets in Iraq as jubilant football fans fired into the air after the national side defeated China in a World Cup qualifier, police said on Sunday.

Gunfire reverberated across Baghdad and several other cities as hundreds of rounds were fired skywards to greet Saturday’s victory. Football is often the only source of shared joy in Iraq, a country still wracked by sectarian violence, and such victories are traditionally celebrated by gunfire. Defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari said the action was illegal but acknowledged that controlling such celebrations was difficult. “There is a law against people firing their guns, but this part of the culture of our society,” he said at a press briefing.