BEIRUT

Middle East

Helicopters, police guard Iraqi holy city pilgrims

Muslim Shiites gather near the shrine of Imam Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures, during the Shaabaniya ceremony commemorating the birth of Imam al-Mahdi, the 12th holiest figure for Shiite Muslims, in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, on July 6, 2012. Mahdi is the 12th Imam who disappeared in the ninth century and Shiites believe that he will appear before the end of time to establish justice and true Islam in the world. (AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

 

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