|Tens of thousands of Shiite faithful converged on a north Baghdad shrine on Tuesday to commemorate martyrdom of Imam Mousa Kadhim (as), braving the threat of attack after two Takfiri bombings.
The attacks claimed by ISIL insurgents killed at least 37 people but did not deter huge crowds of black-clad pilgrims from visiting the shrine of Imam Kadhim(as).
“This pilgrimage represents a defeat for terrorism,” said Mohammed Nayif, a 32-year-old from Babil province, south of Baghdad.
“We are not afraid of the explosions and nothing will stop us,” he said.
An official from the shrine said that millions of people participated in the pilgrimage in recent days, and that more details would be released later on Tuesday.
Many of the main thoroughfares in Baghdad are closed in the days leading up to the annual commemoration of Imam Kadhim’s marttyrdom, an important date in the Shiite Muslim calendar.
Kadhim, the seventh of 12 imams revered in Shiite Islam, died in 799 AD. The pilgrimage to his shrine has in recent years turned into a huge event that brings the capital to a standstill for days.
ISIL has claimed multiple attacks in the Baghdad area targeting the pilgrims.
A car bomb in south Baghdad killed at least 14 people on Monday, while 23 people died in a similar attack on the outskirts of the city two days before.