Tens of thou­sands flock to Bagh­dad shrine brav­ing bomb threats

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BAGH­DAD— Tens of thou­sands of Shi­ite faith­ful con­verged on a north Bagh­dad shrine on Tues­day for the peak of an an­nual pil­grim­age, brav­ing the threat of at­tack af­ter two ex­trem­ist bomb­ings.

The at­tacks claimed by Sunni ex­trem­ists of IS killed at least 37 peo­ple but did not de­ter huge crowds of black- clad pil­grims from visit­ing the shrine of Imam Musa Kad­him to com­mem­o­rate his death.

“This pil­grim­age rep­re­sents a de­feat for ter­ror­ism,” said Mo­hammed Nayif, a 32- year- old from Ba­bil prov­ince, south of Bagh­dad. “We are not afraid of the ex­plo­sions and noth­ing will stop us,” he said. An of­fi­cial from the shrine said that “mil­lions” of peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in the pil­grim­age in re­cent days, and that more de­tails would be re­leased later on Tues­day.

Many of the main thor­ough­fares in Bagh­dad are closed in the days lead­ing up to the an­nual com­mem­o­ra­tion of Imam Kad­him’s death, an im­por­tant date in the Shi­ite Mus­lim cal­en­dar.

Kad­him, the sev­enth of 12 imams revered in Shi­ite Is­lam, died in 799 AD. The pil­grim­age to his shrine has in re­cent years turned into a huge event that brings the cap­i­tal to a stand­still for days.

IS has claimed mul­ti­ple at­tacks in the Bagh­dad area tar­get­ing the pil­grims. A car bomb in south Bagh­dad killed at least 14 peo­ple on Mon­day, while 23 peo­ple died in a sim­i­lar at­tack on the out­skirts of the city two days be­fore. IS con­sid­ers mem­bers of Iraq’s Shi­ite ma­jor­ity to be heretics, and fre­quently tar­gets them in bomb­ings. Iraqi forces have re­gained sig­nif­i­cant ground from IS, which over­ran large ar­eas north and west of Bagh­dad in 2014. But the ex­trem­ists still con­trol a ma­jor part of western Iraq, and carry out fre­quent bomb­ings in gov­ern­ment- con­trolled ar­eas.— Agen­cies crimes com­mit­ted over the course of Syria’s five- year war.

The pho­to­graphs in which Aria Lad­jed­vardi ap­pears were taken in the spring of 2014 and posted on Face­book.

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors be­lieve he and two fel­low fight­ers took the pic­tures to be­lit­tle their vic­tims, whom they con­sid­ered in­fi­dels.— Agen­cies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.