Shiite pilgrims descend on Iraq`s Karbala for Ashura
Karbala: Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims descended on the holy shrine city of Karbala on Saturday for the climax of Ashura commemorations, despite fears of violent attacks by Sunni extremists.
Security forces have beefed up their presence in the central city and authorities are also checking on the 60,000-odd foreign worshippers also expected to attend the ceremonies to ensure they do not have swine flu.
Black flags, representing the sadness of Shiites during Ashura, were to be seen all over the city, 110 kilometres south of Baghdad, along with pictures of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas, who are both buried there.
"I came to show my belief in Imam Hussein – this event has nothing to do with personal motivations or politics," said 40-year-old Mohammed Abdul Hussein, who came from neighbouring Babil province.
Karbala police chief General Ali Jassim Mohammed said that around 25,000 policemen and soldiers had been deployed to secure the commemoration ceremonies, which climax today and tomorrow, and mark the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, in 680 AD.
Security perimeters have also been formed throughout the city, while helicopters are providing extra surveillance and bomb-sniffing dogs are being used at checkpoints.
To counter women suicide attackers who have struck Karbala before, security forces have deployed 600 female personnel on three roads into the city.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- DNA: Exiled Kashmiri Pandits share their heart wrenching stories
- Basic ideals of Constitution are in danger: Sonia Gandhi
- PM Modi greets nation on occasion of first Constitution Day
- Manjula Vaghela's journey: From rag picker to head of a firm with Rs 1 cr turnover!
- Indian Army faces shortage of field firing ranges in J&K
- Woman commits suicide after heated discussion with husband over Aamir Khan's intolerance remark
- Intolerance issue: Those attacking me are only proving my point, says Aamir Khan – Read full statement
- Setback to Kejriwal-led AAP as MLA Akhilesh Tripathi arrested in riot case
- 10 interesting facts about Constitution which every Indian must know
- See pic: Genelia marks son's birthday!