Tens of thousands of Shia pilgrims gathered amongst heightened security on Monday (September 9) in Karbala to commemorate Ashura.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims travel to Karbala 110 km (70 miles) south of Baghdad to commemorate the death of Imam Hussain, Prophet Muhammad’s grandsons.
Strict security measures were taken to prevent any disruption with nearly 35,000 police officers deployed to the city, security officials said.
Ashura falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram and commemorates the death of Imam Hussain, one of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandsons, who was buried there after he and his followers were massacred in the battle of Karbala in AD 680.
The mourning rituals reach a climax on Tuesday (September 10).
Ashura is observed in Iraq and in other countries with sizeable Shia communities, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.