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 Updated: May 15, 2015

Record 10 million mark rajab 25 in terror-marred Baghdad

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY CITY OF KADHMAYN, Iraq: A record 10 million mourners visited the holy Al-Imamayn Al-Jawwadayn (AS) shrine in the holy city of Kadhmayn in northwestern Baghdad to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Al-Imam Mousa b. Jafar Al-Kadhim (AS), a spokesman for the site said.

Rajab 25, which falls this year on Thursday May 14 in Iraq, marks the martyrdom anniversary of the seventh infallible descendant of prophet Muhammad (s), Al-Imam Mousa Al-Kadhim (AS). Al-Imam al-Kadhim (AS) and his grandson Al-Imam Muhammad Taqi Al-Jawwad (AS) are buried in Al-Kadhmayn shrine.

"The number of people this year exceeded 10 million over a period of five days to a week. This is the highest number, it is unprecedented," Amer al-Anbari told AFP.

Large numbers came from neighbouring Iran but the spokesman did not provide a breakdown.

Rajab 25 mourning pilgrimage is the second largest after the Arbaeen Al-Hussayni pilgrimage.

The state had deployed around 75,000 men to protect Baghdad, the Arab world's second largest capital, with pilgrims marching on the streets and the thousands of tents set up for them to rest, eat and drink particularly vulnerable to attacks.

Meanwhile, violence also broke out overnight when the mourners marched through the district of Adhamiyah on their way to the Imam Kadhim shrine on the other side of the Tigris river.

A police colonel told AFP that panic spread after 2:00 am (11.00 GMT) when a rumour began circulating that a suicide bomber was among the crowd.

"Some elements infiltrated in the midst of the pilgrims heading to the shrine of Imam Kadhim attacked a Sunni Waqf (endowment) building," the officer said. "They burned it as well as 17 other houses," he said.


Officials generally blamed the violence on a plot to whip up resentment in Iraq.

"Some are angered by the fact that Iraqis are united in facing terrorism, that's why they tried to sow this discord," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said as he visited the site of the flare-up early Thursday.

"Whoever sabotages the security of this country must be hit with an iron fist," Sheikh Mohammed al-Sumaidai, the head of the Sunni Waqf, said at a news conference in the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

He went on call for a reconciliation conference to help defuse tensions between Iraq's Shi’ite and Sunni brethren and make a joint push to root out the ISIS terrorists.

Iraq’s Marje al-Aala, the supreme authority Sayyed Ali Al-Hussaini As-Sistani also urged Iraqis to remain united.

In Pakistan, Sayyed Hamid Ali Al-Moussavi, chief of Shiites who also heads TNFJ called on Iraqi brethren to thwart the conspiracy of anti-Islam elements by remaining united.


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