Millions of pilgrims have gathered across Iraq, with security tight for the climax of the Shi’ite Muslim religious festival of Ashura.
Karbala is the site of the most important shrine where Shi’ites commemorate the slaying of the prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein in 680AD.
Bloody attacks have marred Ashura in previous
years and today a roadside bomb killed four pilgrims in Tuz Khurmato, north of Baghdad. Two others were killed in the capital itself yesterday.
Shi’ites make up around 15 per cent of Muslims worldwide. As well as in Iraq and Iran, significant numbers of worshippers are marking Ashura in other countries, including Bahrain and Pakistan.