Iraq Steps Up Security in Najaf ahead of Imam Ali Martyrdom Anniversary
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A couple of days before the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali (PBUH), when Shiite pilgrims converge on the holy city of Najaf, Iraqi sources have announced that special forces have been deployed to provide security for the pilgrims.
Almasalah news website has quoted a security source in Karbala as saying that special forces from the Karbala Police Department have been dispatched to the holy city of Najaf in a bid to ensure the security of pilgrims.
Meantime, Khadhir al-Jabouri, head of the Provincial Council of Najaf, said local authorities, in coordination with Central Euphrates Operations Command, have prepared a complete security plan for the anniversary of Imam Ali's martyrdom.
Arrangements have also been made with authorities in Najaf province as well as in neighboring provinces to provide services for the pilgrims, he added.
Each year thousands of Shiites from Iran and other countries travel to Najaf to mark the martyrdom of Imam Ali (PBUH) on 21st of Ramadan (the 9th month in the lunar Hijri calendar).
The shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH), Shiites' first imam, is located in the holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers south of Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The city is now a great center of pilgrimage from around the Shiite Islamic world. It is estimated that only Mecca and Medina receive more Muslim pilgrims.