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Shi'ite Pilgrims Culminating Religious Rite In Iraq

Thousands of Muslim Shi'ite women performed the Arbain mourning ritual outside the Imam Abbas Shrine in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala on February 3.
Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims are participating in the culmination of the religious rite of Arbain in the Iraqi city of Karbala, south of Baghdad.

The rituals have been taking place amid increased security following two attacks by suicide bombers targeting pilgrims this week that reportedly left more than 60 people dead.

Iraqi officials say around 30,000 troops and police have been deployed to protect visitors from potential attacks by suspected Sunni extremists seeking to exploit sectarian divides.

Hundreds of thousands of Shi'a, including many from neighboring Iran, have been traveling to pay homage at the shrine in Karbala of Imam Hussein, one of Shi'ite Islam's most revered figures.

Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the slaying of Imam Hussein in a 7th-century battle in Karbala.

compiled from agency reports