Security operation
Iraqi security forces have meanwhile launched a major operation to protect pilgrims attending the Ashura commemorations in the holy Shia city of Karbala, south of Baghdad.



What is Ashura?

Vehicle curfews have been imposed in southern provinces as well as in Baghdad and Diyala to protect Shias observing Ashura, who are commemorating the death of Prophet Muhammad's grandson in a battle in Karbala 1,300 years ago.


Suicide bombings and mortar attacks killed 171 people during Ashura in Karbala and Baghdad in 2004.