- Title: Iraq tightens security ahead of Shi'ite pilgrimage to Kerbala
- Date: 20th November 2016
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHI'ITE PILGRIM, SHEIKH ABU TAHSEEN AL-MAYAHI, SAYING: "The security measures are good. The security plan for this year is very accurate and precise. There were cars giving us lifts to and from Kerbala." VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS ENTERING SHRINE PILGRIMS IN SHRINE VICINITY / BANNER FEATURING IMAGINARY IMAGE OF IMAM HUSSEIN PILGRIMS BEATING THEIR CHESTS IN CIRCLE FORMATION WHILE CHANTING SCORES OF SHI'ITE PILGRIMS GATHERED IN SQUARE OUTSIDE THE IMAM HUSSEIN HOLY SHRINE
- Embargoed: 5th December 2016 09:38
- Keywords: Shi'ite security pilgrims Iraq Kerbala Baghdad walk
- Location: KERBALA, SOUTH OF BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- City: KERBALA, SOUTH OF BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA003598Z0AV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraqi authorities adopted stringent security measures ahead of the annual pilgrimage procession for Shi'ite Muslims who walk from Baghdad to Kerbala to marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammed, many centuries ago.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiite pilgrims made the 80 kilometre (50 mile) trek on foot from Baghdad and other provinces, escorted by armoured vehicles, soldiers and ambulances.
Pilgrims visited the holy shrine of Imam Hussein to pay their respects, and some beat their heads and chests with their hands as a sign of grief.
Shi'ite Muslims have commonly been targets during the Arbaeen period by hardline Sunni insurgents.
U.S.-backed Iraqi troops have been engaged in a battle to regain the Islamic State held city of Mosul.
Iraqi forces were able to expanded their foothold on the eastern side of Islamic State's stronghold of Mosul on Friday (November 18).
Iraqi authorities say millions of Iraqi Shi'ite Muslims have flocked to the religious sites to mark the end of a 40-day mourning period after the seventh century death of Imam Hussein.
Imam Hussein was killed for upholding his values along with about 70 followers by an army of Umayyads, their rivals for leadership of the Muslim community at the time, during a 680 AD battle.
The commemoration is to reach its climax after pilgrims converge on Kerbala on foot to attend what is known as the Arbaeen festival, which reaches its peak on Monday (November 21).
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