Wednesday Jul 04, 201210:10 PM GMT
Iraq tightens security ahead of Shabaniyah to protect pilgrims
Around 40,000 security personnel have been deployed in the Iraqi city of Karbala to prevent any act of terror. (File photo)
Around 40,000 security personnel have been deployed in the Iraqi city of Karbala to prevent any act of terror. (File photo)
Wed Jul 4, 2012 9:56PM
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Iraq has tightened security ahead of the major religious festival of the Shabaniyah, which celebrates the birth of the twelfth Shia Imam, Imam Mahdi (PUBH).


Iraqi forces have been deployed in and around the central city of Karbala to protect pilgrims who gather in the city which hosts the holy shrine of the third Shia Imam, Imam Hussein (PBUH).

Around 40,000 security personnel in the city are tasked with countering any act of terror.

The measures come amid fears of attacks against pilgrims raised by the latest bout of bombing attacks in the country.

On Tuesday, a bomb blast in the eastern province of Wasit claimed at least eight lives, while at least five others lost their lives in separate bomb attacks that erupted in Karbala.

Elsewhere, an explosive-laden truck exploded near a Shia mosque in the city of Diwaniya, where pilgrims gather on their way to Karbala. The attacks killed more than 40 people and wounded dozens of others.

But the pilgrims, who mostly travel long distances to get to Karbala, seem undeterred.

Millions of Shia Muslims from around the globe head for the shrine of the third Shia Imam, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), on various occasions every year.

The security situation inside the city has generally improved over the past year, but pilgrims risk being attacked by al-Qaeda-linked extremists on their way to the city.


MRS/AS
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