Iraqi security thwart terrorist attack against Shiite visitors in Baghdad

Shi’ite Muslim men beat themselves with their hands in mourning for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in a 7th century battle in Kerbala, in Kerbala, Iraq, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-deen

Baghdad ( – Iraqi security forces thwarted on Sunday a terrorist attack that was planned to target Shiite visitors in Baghdad.

“Security forces received reports about the presence of three suicide bombers in al-Radwaniyah district in southern Baghdad,” Mawazin News website quoted the Baghdad Operations Command as saying in a statement.

The terrorists, according to the statement, “were planning to target Shiite visitors taking part in Arbaeen rituals.”

“The troops managed to kill the three suicide bombers and seized light weapons and three explosive belts at the scene,” the statement read.

Arbaeen is a Shiite ritual marking the end of a 40-day mourning period for the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.

Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein banned Shiite gatherings for religious events for decades.

Pilgrims have gathered in sacred Shiite cities including Kerbala and Najaf for religious duties since a U.S.-led invasion toppled him in 2003.

But those gatherings were marred by suicide bombings carried out by Sunni militants, notably from al Qaeda and Islamic State, who regard Iraq’s majority Shi’ites as infidels.

Now that those groups have largely been defeated by U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces, Shiite pilgrims may have more peace of mind during this year’s Arbaeen, though security remains tight across the country.

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