21-11-2018 09:50 PM Jerusalem Timing

Despite Threats, Millions Throng Karbala for Arbaeen Commemoration

Despite Threats, Millions Throng Karbala for Arbaeen Commemoration

Faithful Muslims from across Iraq and the world flocked in the holy city of Karbala on Saturday for the commemoration of Arbaeen amid tight security for fear of terrorist attacks.

Faithful Muslims from across Iraq and the world flocked in the holy city of Karbala on Saturday for the commemoration of Arbaeen amid tight security for fear of terrorist attacks.


More than 15 million visitors will have passed through Karbala by the end of the commemorations, defying the threat of deadly violence that has been targeting faithful Muslims in recent weeks.


The Arbaeen marks the passage of 40 days on the slaughter of Imam Hussein (pbuh), his friends and family, and the capture of Imam Ali Bin Hussein, Sayyeda Zainab as well as the wives and children of the martyrs.


"I have been walking for 12 days," said Adil Salim, a devotee from Iraq's southern port city of Basra. "Despite the threats and the exhaustion, we insist on taking part in these commemorations."
"We will never stop, no matter what the terrorists do."


Karbala provincial governor Amal al-Din al-Har said 200,000 devotees from outside Iraq were among more than 15 million visitors.
"All services are going smoothly," he told AFP, but noted that the province's electricity and transportation networks were overwhelmed by the sheer number of pilgrims.


Some 35,000 police officers and soldiers were handling security around the city, 110 kilometers  south of Baghdad, and eponymous province as Shiite pilgrims carried out their traditional walk to Karbala.


Iraq's security forces have also deployed 500 policewomen to assist in checkpoint searches, as well as sonar detectors and sniffer dogs, according to Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi, who commands forces in five provinces across central Iraq, of which Karbala is one.


He said they have so far arrested 60 people who were planning attacks during the commemoration, and defused 14 roadside bombs.