- Title: IRAQ: Security stepped up in Kerbala
- Date: 3rd February 2010
- Summary: ***FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** HILLA, IRAQ (FEBRUARY 2, 2010) (REUTERS) SHIITE PILGRIMS WALKING TOWARDS KERBALA TO ATTEND RELIGIOUS RITE OF ARBAIN
- Embargoed: 18th February 2010 12:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVABB3QN0O38I3N80L85GLIARCMT
- Story Text: Waves of Shi'ite pilgrims descended on the holy city of Kerbala on Tuesday (February 2) to attend the religious rite of Arbain despite the suicide attacks that targeted Shiite pilgrims in different areas of Baghdad.
Thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims made their way to Kerbala, 80 Km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad, some walking for days to attend the annual ritual.
On Monday (February 1), a female suicide bomber blew herself up among Shi'ite pilgrims on the outskirts of Iraq's capital, killing at least 41 people and wounding dozens of others.
"The bombings will not affect us, but it will increase our determination, we are walking to defy the terrorist. We will not be intimidated by the enemy." Ali Hassan, a Shiite pilgrim, said.
The pilgrimage is one of several annual events that have become shows of force for Iraq's Shi'ite majority since the fall of Sunni Arab leader Saddam Hussein, who restricted Shi'ite religious practice. Sunni Arab militants often strike them.
More than a million Shiite faithful from throughout the world are expected to converge on the Shiite holy city of Kerbala as the pilgrimage reaches its peak on Friday.
Baghdad governor Salah Abdel Razaq, accompanied by the spokesman of the Baghdad security plan, Iraqi army General Qassim Atta, visited Hilla province to check the security measures that were taken to protect the pilgrims while walking to Kerbala.
General Atta showed weapons seized around Kerbala and said at Hilla's military base that the suicide attack will not impact on Iraqi security progress.
"This is a desperate attempt which aims at impacting on security and the political scene in Iraq. Such a terrorist attack will increase our determination to pursuit the armed groups that target citizens,security and political achievements. The security leadership is studying the attacks that took place yesterday," he said.
Iraqi authorities deployed over 27,000 police and soldiers as part of an effort to avoid the bloodshed that continues to mar such religious events.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None