Thursday Dec 22, 201107:01 PM GMT
Iran urges Iraq to protect pilgrims
Thu Dec 9, 2010 1:35PM
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Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi has strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks against Iranian pilgrims to Iraq, urging the Baghdad government to tighten security.


He called on Iranian pilgrims to refrain from travelling to Iraq unaccompanied by a tour due to the “current situation and the occurrence of certain security lapses which has left several innocent people, including our countrymen, martyred or wounded.”

“Unfortunately, we have repeatedly witnessed such tragic incidents involving Iranian pilgrims and we hope that Iraqi officials act more responsibly towards protecting the lives of Iranian pilgrims who have acquired Iraqi visas,” ISNA quoted Qashqavi as saying.

On Saturday, five bombing attacks hit the capital of Iraq, killing around 50 people, including seven Iranians pilgrims, and wounding 160 others.

Each year, Iraqi security forces tighten security measures in Karbala from the beginning of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, during which Shia Muslims mourn Imam Hussein's (PBUH) martyrdom.

Every day, the Shia shrines, mainly the ones in the two cities of Karbala and Najaf, host hundreds of pilgrims from neighboring Iran.

Iraq has been suffering attacks on an almost daily basis in the chaos that followed the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

SF/ZHD/AKM
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