Tight Security As Thousands Make Annual Iraq Pilgrimage

Tight Security As Thousands Make Annual Iraq Pilgrimage

As part of a weeklong memorial procession marking the death of a revered figure in Shiite Islam, thousands of pilgrims wore black as they marched towards a golden shrine in northwest Baghdad on Saturday.

A large number of pilgrims from mainly southern and central provinces had descended on Baghdad, causing many streets in the Iraqi capital to were closed.

In the path leading to Imam Moussa al-Kadhim’s shrine, who died in the eighth century, tents were placed.

Moussa al-Kadhim, the seventh of the 12 Shiite imams, died in the 8th century, and the religious Festival commemorates the death of Moussa al-Kadhim

In preparation for the annual pilgrimage, which will be completed by Sunday morning, Iraqi security forces were deployed in large numbers.

There were very few masks worn by pilgrims who came for the event. Every year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims come to Baghdad.

A ban on vehicles was put in place in Kadhimya, a predominantly Shia area where this shrine is located.

As Iraqis fret over the lack of progress in forming a government after voting in general elections more than four months ago, the march comes at a time when frustration is mounting.

A dispute between Iraq’s main Kurdish and Shia political parties has hampered the process of forming the government.

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