Shiites observe Ashura holy day, suicide bomber hits believers in Iraq

Members of the Muslim sect engage in self cutting, flagellation, throughout middle east; worshippers killed in Iraq after targeted bombing; Nasrallah makes rare public appearance in honor of holy day

Shiites celebrated Ashura, a holy day commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Mohammad who was killed in the seventh century battle of Karbala, a city in present-day Iraq. Nowadays, Ashura attracts hundreds of thousands of Shiites to holy sites across Iraq. 


Ashura began at sundown on Wednesday. It is observed every year over a 10-day period. Worshippers show their faith by cutting themselves with swords and knives, and ritually whipping their bodies with chains and knives in grief, drenching themselves in blood.


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As worshippers went through the somber rituals, a suicide attacker and twin blasts Thursday targeted Shiites marking the occassion in Iraq, killing at least 41 people and wounding more than 100, officials said. 


The Ashura holy day has been marred previously by massive attacks by al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremists who see Shiites as heretics. This year, the attacks come amid an escalating campaign of violence by insurgents seeking to thwart the Shiite-led government's efforts to maintain security.


Baghdad, Iraq self cutting and flagellation (Photo: Reuters)

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Iranian girl at Ashura ceremony (Photo: AFP)

Shiite boy in Iraq as slain Imam Hussein, killed as a child by arrow to throat (Photo: AFP)

Woman wearing burqa in Afghanistan asking for handouts (Photo: AFP)

Woman in Iraqi city of Karbala, face covered (Photo: AFP)

Self cutting in Indian Kashmir (Photo: AFP)

Bloody knives displayed in Indian Kashmir (Photo: AFP)

Injured back of Indian man in Kashmir (Photo: AFP)

Pakistani boy with knives (Photo: EPA)


Shiites observe holy day in Tehran (Photo: EPA)

Self flagellation, Afghanistan (Photo: EPA)

Shiite Hezbollah supporters with Palestinian flags in Beirut (Photo: EPA)

Believer cuts his head in Kabul, Afghanistan (Photo: Reuters)

Nasrallah, flanked by bodyguards, in rare public appearance (Photo: Reuters)

Shiite women film Ashura ceremonies in Lebanon (Photo: Reuters) 


Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, made a rare public appearance, showing up in a giant hall south of Beirut to attend a Shiite Ashura ceremony. Nasrallah has made few public appearances since his group fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006 for fear of assassination by Israel.


The black-turbaned Shiite cleric said late Wednesday that his arch-enemy Israel is happy to see Sunni and Shiite Muslims killing each other.



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פרסום ראשון: 11.15.13, 00:21
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