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 Updated: January 4, 2013

Arbaeeniyato al-Imam Al-Hussein marked in Karbala

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY CITY OF KARBALA, Iraq: An estimated 15 million mourning pilgrims from across Iraq and around the world thronged the shrine city of Karbala on Thursday Safar 20 January 3 for Arbaeeniyato Al-Imam Al-Hussein (AS) commemoration amid tight security despite chilled weather.

An AFP correspondent said massive crowds of people flooded the streets of the city as sad songs (Marathi wa nauha) blared from loudspeakers.

Black flags fluttered alongside pictures of Imam Hussein (AS) and his brother Abbas (AS).

White-clad groups offered tatbeer (hitting head with sword to gush out blood to signify their grief on martyrdom of Al-Imam Al-Hussein).

Provincial governor Amal al-Din al-Har said he expected some 15 million worshippers would have passed through the city by the end of the commemorations, many walking for days from across Iraq .

Among them are around 600,000 pilgrims from 30 different countries, leaving all of the city’s 700 hotels packed to the brim.

Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura commemorating the unjust slaying of Imam Hussein by the armies of Yazid in 680 AD.

The Iraqi police have deployed 35,000 troops to ensure security during the ritual.


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