Millions of Shia Muslim pilgrims from around the globe are descending on the holy city of Karbala in Iraq to commemorate Arba’een. The occasion marks forty days after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam.
Black-clad mourners are marching towards Karbala from various Iraqi cities and borders. The pilgrims will take part in one of the world’s largest human gatherings, around Imam Hussein’s shrine on Thursday. Baghdad has tightened security to protect pilgrims against terrorist attacks ahead of the mourning rituals. Imam Hussein and his 72 companions were killed in the Battle of Karbala 14 centuries ago. They were martyred after refusing to pledge allegiance to the tyrant of the time, Yazid.