- Title: Iraqi holy city of Kerbala hosts milliions of Shi'ite muslims for Ashura
- Date: 12th October 2016
- Summary: KERBALA, IRAQ (OCTOBER 12, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LARGE CROWD OF SHI'ITE PILGRIMS IN STREET OF KERBALA / CHANTING VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS INSIDE THE SHRINE OF IMAM HUSSEIN / CHANTING VARIOUS OF LARGE CROWD OF PILGRIMS IN STREET OF KERBALA / CHANTING
- Embargoed: 27th October 2016 19:07
- Keywords: Kerbala Iraq Ashura Imam Hussein
- Location: KERBALA, IRAQ
- City: KERBALA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00153P90LJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A huge crowd of Shi'ite Muslims marked the climax of the Ashura celebrations on Wednesday (October 12) in Kerbala.
An estimated two million Shi'ites from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and elsewhere have descended on the Iraqi holy city of Kerbala over the past 10 days to mark Ashura, one of the holiest events in the Shi'ite calendar.
Ashura commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed in battle more than 1,300 years ago.
Pilgrims, most wearing black shirts and headdresses as a mark of mourning, packed streets in front of the shrine as they prayed fervently, beating their breasts and wailing for the loss of their martyr.
Thousands of police and soldiers have been deployed in the sacred city as a precaution against any attacks.
Shi'ite rituals are a frequent target by militants of the Islamic State who consider Shi'ites as apostates who deserve to die.
The entire event lasts more than a week, and is built to a crescendo on Wednesday (October 12) -- the actual Ashura, or 10th day of the Muslim month of Muharram -- which marks the day Imam Hussein was killed and beheaded by his enemies in Kerbala.
His body is believed to lie in Kerbala's Imam Hussein mausoleum, a golden domed shrine at the heart of the city and one of the holiest sites in Shi'ite Islam.
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