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Shi'a Gather For Religious Ritual In Iraq, Lebanon

Iraqi soldiers stand guard during the religious ceremony of Ashura in the holy city of Karbala on November 3.

Millions of Shi'a have gathered at shrines and mosques across Iraq for the peak of the Ashura religious ritual.

In the city of Karbala, 80 kilometers south of Baghdad, hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered outside the Imam Hussein shrine on November 4.

Ashura commemorates seventh-century death of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the most revered figures in Shi'ite Islam.

This is the first time the ritual has been observed since Sunni Islamic State (IS) militants seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of supporters of the Shi’ite militant group Hizballah turned out in Lebanon's capital, Beirut.

Addressing the crowd, Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah pledged "victory" against the IS militants.

Hizballah has sent fighters into Syria to fight alongside President Bashar al-Assad's regime against mainly Sunni rebels.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP