JNN 26 Jan 2011 Karbala : More than 15 million Shia pilgrims thronged the holy Iraqi city of Karbala on Tuesday for annual mourning rituals, with security forces keeping a tight watch following a spate of deadly attacks.
Mourners continued to pour into the city south of Baghdad till the End of Arbaeen, mindful that dozens had been martyred in recent days as they made their way there on foot from across Iraq for the ceremonies.
Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the slaying of Imam Hussein (A.S) and his 72 faithful companions, by the armies of the Yazid (L.A) in 680 AD.
Throngs of mourners overflowed Imam Hussein’s A.S shrine in Karbala and remorse at not defending him by beating their heads and chests.
Nohas blared from loudspeakers throughout the city and black flags fluttered alongside pictures of Imam Hussein A.S and his half-brother Hadrat Abbas A.S , both of whom are buried in the city.
Security forces were on alert throughout, following a triple car bombing on Monday killed at least 12 people.
Karbala governor Amal al-Deen al-Har said that over 15 million Shiite pilgrims had been through the city, 110 kilometres (70 miles) south of Baghdad, over the past two weeks.
Mohammad Sadiq al-Har, the head of the city’s hospitalities guild, said Karbala’s packed hotels and restaurants had catered to 11 million Iraqis and 50,000 pilgrims from 30 other countries.
Security for the pilgrims was paramount, said Muhammed al-Mussawi, head of the provincial council.
“The security plan is flexible and changeable according to the development in the security situation,” he said.
“The number of security forces was increased after the latest attacks, and cars were prevented from entering Karbala city,” he said.
Monday’s car bombs targeted crowds of pilgrims gathering on the outskirts of the city to make the rest of the journey on foot. Another triple car bombing on Thursday killed 45 pilgrims.
“These attacks only strengthen our resolve to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein,” said Mohammed Mohsen, a 40-year-old who came with a convoy of other volunteers with food and drinks to feed pilgrims as an act of devotion.
“These acts will not stop us from practising our religion,” he said.
Brigadier General Nohman Dakhel Jawad, commander of Iraq’s emergency response forces, said his officers had carried out multiple raids, arresting 32 suspects and uncovering a cache of weapons.
This year marks the first time Iraqi troops have been in sole charge of security for Ashura since 2003. While the Americans have not provided ground forces for it in several years, they have previously helped with surveillance and reconnaissance.
There are around 50,000 US troops still stationed in Iraq, but all of them must pull out of the country by the end of 2011, under the terms of a security pact.
Now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime barred the vast majority of Ashura and Arbaeen commemorations throughout his rule until his overthrow in 2003.
As this is a lesson for the yazeedi forces around the world No matter , how much brutality and how many people they martyr , but could not stop this Mourning from the hearts of Shian e Haider e Karar , and the passion in their hearts to carry out this Azadari , out of love of their Leader , Imam Hussein A.S.
For Picture of the Arbaeen at Karbala please visit our Jafaia Galley section.
- 19 Million Pilgrims Expected in Karbala to Mark Arbaeen Mourning (jafrianews.com)
- Ashura commemorated in Karbala and around the world (jafrianews.com)
- Millions commemorate Ashura in Karbala & Najaf (jafrianews.com)
- Bomb blasts kill 3, injure 32 in Iraq (jafrianews.com)