- Title: Crowds of Iranian pilgrims rush through Iraqi border ahead of Arbaeen
- Date: 26th September 2021
- Summary: BASRA, IRAQ (SEPTEMBER 25, 2021) (REUTERS) CROWD OF PILGRIMS INSIDE BUILDING ON IRAQI SIDE OF IRAQ-IRAN SHALAMCHA LAND BORDER CROSSING, WITH MAN CARRYING BABY SHOUTING (Arabic): "There is no water!" MAN HOLDING BABY OVER HIS HEAD PASSING THROUGH DOOR AMID CROWD VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS CROWDING INSIDE BUILDING AND BEING CHECKED BY IRAQI SECURITY FORCE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRANIAN ON HIS WAY TO KERBALA, MURTADA SAADUNI, SAYING: "We come from Khorramshahr, in the Islamic Republic of Iran. There are a lot of pilgrims, many slept at the border for three or four days (on the Iranian side) waiting to have permission to enter (Iraq). Since this morning, there has been an order to facilitate (our entry), thank God, and pilgrims entered. But many remained in Iran behind the border. We hope that pilgrims will receive help from the Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran and that facilitation (of their entrance) will be granted." VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS CROWDING IN FRONT OF CLOSED GATE VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS PASSING THROUGH WALK-THROUGH METAL DETECTOR AND BEING CHECKED BY IRAQI SECURITY FORCES IRAQI AND IRANIAN FLAGS OUTSIDE CLOSED GATE VARIOUS OF GOVERNOR OF BASRA PROVINCE, ASAAD AL-EIDANI, STANDING NEAR GATES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GOVERNOR OF BASRA PROVINCE, ASAAD AL-EIDANI, SAYING: "After video clips emerged showing the crowding of pilgrims at the border crossings (with Iran), the honourable Prime Minister gave the instruction to allow a limited number of pilgrims to cross by land (into Iraq) in order perform ritual of Arbaeen." PILGRIMS CROWDING AT DOOR IN FRONT OF SECURITY FORCES VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS STANDING AT COUNTER TO GET THEIR PASSPORT STAMPED PILGRIMS WALKING THROUGH GATED CORRIDOR SHOUTING (Arabic): "(Imam) Hussein" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRANIAN ON HIS WAY TO KERBALA, MOHAMMED RIDHA, SAYING: "It has been three days that we are at the Shalamcha border crossing (on the Iranian side). And thanks to God and to you (Iraqis), we are now here and God willing we will visit (Imam) Hussein and we will pray for you, our Iraqi brothers, a crown on our heads." PILGRIMS WALKING THROUGH GATED CORRIDOR SHOUTING (Arabic): "(Imam) Hussein" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRANIAN ON HIS WAY TO KERBALA, ALI MOHAMMED ALI, SAYING: "Pilgrims are left without services (on the Iranian side). To cause us no harm we beg you, Iraqis, to open the border. And if it is the Iranians, we beg them to open the border." BASRA, IRAQ (SEPTEMBER 25, 2021) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) CROWD OF PILGRIMS MARCHING THROUGH OPEN GATE PILGRIMS JUMPING OFF WALL VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS WALKING THROUGH OPEN GATE AND SHOUTING PILGRIMS CLIMBING DOWN ROOF VARIOUS OF CROWD OF PILGRIMS WALKING THROUGH GATE
- Embargoed: 10th October 2021 13:09
- Keywords: Arbaeen Border crossing Chaos Crowds Iran Iraq Religion Shi'ites
- Location: BASRA, IRAQ
- City: BASRA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Middle East,Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWCWI8L
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Large crowds of Iranian pilgrims waited on the Iranian side of the Iran-Iraq Shalamcha land border crossing until Saturday morning (September 25), hoping to enter Iraq and continue their journey towards the holy city of Kerbala to attend the religious ritual of Arbaeen.
"After video clips emerged showing the crowding of pilgrims at the border crossings (with Iran), the honourable Prime Minister gave the instruction to allow a limited number of pilgrims to cross by land (into Iraq) in order perform the ritual of Arbaeen," the governor of Basra province, Assad al-Eidani said while touring the crossing in the morning.
In a normal year, up to 20 million mostly Shi'ite Muslims take part in the Arbaeen pilgrimage in the holy city of Kerbala to commemorate Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was slain in battle in 680 by the Muslim Caliph of the day.
In 2020 and due to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, authorities had barred entry to most foreign pilgrims, including some three million Iranians.
This year, many Iranians slept on the Iranian side of the border for up to four days, waiting for permission to cross, Murtada Saaduni, an Iranian pilgrim, told Reuters. He was among those who managed to cross into Iraq on the morning of September 25.
Throughout the day, crowds of pilgrims entered Iraq after perfuming the necessary identity and security checks.
Towards the end of the day, the government in Baghdad gave the order to open the gates in order to allow pilgrims who were stuck between the Iranian and Iraqi border to enter Iraq, a government source told Reuters on condition of anonymity, adding that Iraqi border guards had not been able to perform the necessary checks on the thousands of pilgrims that then rushed through the border.
Some pilgrims were seen climbing over walls and fences, impatient to board vehicles towards Kerbala.
Pilgrims on the morning of Sunday (September 26) entered in an orderly fashion again, a border guard on the ground who refused to give his name said.
(Production: Mohammed Aty, Charlotte Bruneau)
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