Arba’een; 5 mln pilgrims already in Karbala, millions more expected

Arba’een; 5 mln pilgrims already in Karbala, millions more expected
Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:56:40

More than 5 million people have already entered the historic land of Karbala in Iraq on the occasion of Day of Arbaeen which marks the 40th day after martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Aqeel al-Masoudi, head of the security board of Karbala Governorate Council, said on Saturday that more than 250,000 foreign pilgrims are seen among 5 million people who have entered the town.

Arba'een ceremony is consistently among the largest peaceful gatherings in history, which for the current Islamic calendar year is going to be held on December 24th.

Every year millions of pilgrims from Iraq and other countries make an annual trek on foot or by vehicle to the city of Karbala, stopping at roadside tents for food and rest along the way.

Security forces in Iraq have been taking tougher measures by sealing off roads and increasing checkpoints on routes used by the Shiite pilgrims to visit shrines in southern cities and around the capital Baghdad.

Despite tight security measures, tens of pilgrims have lost their lives in terrorist attacks during the past couple of days.

Only on Friday, 14 people were killed by roadside bomb attacks in north of the country.

However the threatening security condition has not stopped flow of pilgrims toward Karbala.

Iraq Interior Ministry announced in a statement that more than 1,300,000 foreign pilgrims have already entered Iraq.

For nearly 30 years under Saddam's regime it was forbidden to mark Arba’een publicly in Iraq.

In 2008, approximately nine million religious observers converged on Karbala to commemorate Arba’een.

In 2009, the number of people visiting Karbala on Arba'een significantly increased. According to the official website of BBC News and Press TV over ten million people had reached the city of Karbala one or two days before Arba'een.

According to Al Alam during the last Arba’een event which was on January 3rd, 2013, more than 18 million people walked toward Karbala from across Iraq.



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