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Iraq

Iraqi cities serve millions of Arba’een pilgrims

Iraqis are serving millions of Shia Muslims from around the world and the country itself who are flocking to the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf to commemorate Arba’een, Press TV reports.

According to Iraqi officials, over four million people have already poured into Iraq ahead of the event, which falls on December 13 this year.

Arba’een marks 40 days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam and grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Imam Hussein and 72 of his loyal companions, including family members, were martyred on Ashura, the tenth day of the lunar month of Muharram, in the battle of Karbala against the second Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, in 680 A.D. Imam Hussein was killed after he refused to pledge allegiance to the tyrant ruler.

Meanwhile those hosting the pilgrims, in their millions, spare no effort to serve them.

“We give food and water and juice and tea and soup… we start from 4 a.m. in the morning until midnight. Then we got a lot of guests sometimes 5,000 people. They stay [and] sleep overnight,” an Iraqi man told Press TV correspondent.
This is while the two holy cities this year have already opened their arms to fellow Iraqis who have been displaced due to the violence fueled by the ISIL Takfiri militants in parts of Iraq.

“This year is very unique for us. We are hosting a large number of pilgrims every day and at the same time we [are] serving displaced Iraqis,” said another man.

Iraqi forces have tightened security to protect pilgrims against terrorist attacks ahead of the mourning rituals.

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