Millions of Shi'ite Muslims have flooded into the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala for the peak of Ashura rituals.
Throngs of pilgrims beat their chests as a sign of mourning for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who was killed in AD 680 in Karbala.
Provincial Governor Amal al-Din al-Har told AFP that about 3 million pilgrims, including 200,000 from foreign countries, have come to Karbala for the rituals.
Staff Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi, commander of the Karbala area, said 30,000 members of the security forces were deployed at the northern, southern, and eastern entrances of Karbala to protect the pilgrims.
Pilgrims have been targeted by bombings in past years that left dozens dead.
Based on reporting by AFP and the BBC