- Title: IRAQ: Security tightened in Kerbala for pilgrim Arbain ritual
- Date: 22nd December 2013
- Summary: KERBALA, IRAQ (DECEMBER 22, 2013) (REUTERS) SHIITE PILGRIMS MARCHING TO HOLY SHRINE OF IMAM HUSSEIN TO ATTEND ARBAIN RITUAL SHIITE PILGRIMS DRUMMING AND BEATING THEIR CHESTS SHIITE PILGRIMS MARCHING ON ROAD LEADING TO GATES OF KERBALA VARIOUS OF SHIITE PILGRIMS AT GATES OF KERBALA ( SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHIITE PILGRIM, HASSAN, SAYING: "The people do not care, millions are here, we do not care about this thing (attacks on Shiites) even if something happens , the people are attending to mark the death of Abu Abdullah al-Hussein." POLICEMEN SEARCHING BAGS OF SHIITE PILGRIMS AT CHECKPOINT POLICEMEN SEARCHING SHIITE PILGRIMS AT CHECKPOINT VARIOUS OF DOG SEARCHING PILGRIMS' BAGS AT CHECKPOINT SECURITY PERSONNEL AT CHECKPOINT AS PILGRIMS ARRIVING
- Embargoed: 6th January 2014 12:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Crime,General
- Reuters ID: LVA9QB5PFZQ5CBTQGJXPJB06VIXN
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Iraq on Sunday (December 22) deployed tens of thousands of soldiers to protect a mass of Shiite pilgrims making their way to Kerbala to mark one of the most important Shiite commemorations known as Arbain - a month of remembrance of Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein.
Hundreds of people have already been killed in recent months in bloody sectarian fighting and more than 30 people, many of them pilgrims, died in suicide bomb attacks in and around the capital Baghdad over the last 4 days.
The tightened security reflects not only the ongoing threat from Sunni Islamist militants who have targeted Shiite ceremonies since 2003, but also the potential political damage major attacks could do ahead of national polls in March.
Over a million pilgrims are expected to converge on Tuesday (December 24) in Kerbala, south of Baghdad, for the culmination of the Arbain religious ritual.
Security in Baghdad is tighter too, where many pilgrims began the 80 km (50 mile) walk to Kerbala. Others headed towards an important Shi'ite shrine in Baghdad's Kadhimiya district.
Hassan, a Shiite from Baghdad, said the security threat will not deter him from making this all important pilgrimage.
"The people do not care, millions are here, we do not care about this thing even if something happens , the people are attending to mark the death of Abu Abdullah al-hussein", he said.
Arbain marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the death of Imam Hussein.
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