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22 Oct 2018 | 04:11 AM UTC

Iraq: Heightened security in Karbala during Arba’een pilgrimage Oct. 29-31

Large gatherings will take place in Karbala and other Shi’a-majority areas for Arba’een commemorations October 29-31

security
transportation
IRQ

Event

Millions of pilgrims will gather in the southern city of Karbala to commemorate Arba'een from Monday, October 29, to Wednesday, October 31. Commemorations will also take place in other southern regions, the capital Baghdad, and other Shi'a-dominated areas. A heightened security presence is expected in these areas due to a higher risk of insurgent attacks; preparations are reportedly underway to secure the pilgrimage in southern regions . Associated transportation disruptions in roads leading to and within these areas are anticipated.

Context

Arba'een is a Shi'a Muslim celebration, which occurs at the end of the 40-day mourning period observed after Ashura. It commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson, Imam Hussein.

Advice

Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.

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