Shiite Muslim pilgrims walk to the holy city of Karbala, ahead of the holy Shiite ritual of Arbaeen, in Najaf, November 19, 2016. REUTERS /Alaa Al-Marjani
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Millions of Shiite Muslim pilgrims beating their chests in mourning thronged the Iraqi city of Karbala Sunday under the protection of thousands of members of the security forces.Many in the sea of black-clad devotees swarming the shrine walked days to reach Karbala, sometimes from cities as far afield as Basra, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) away by road.Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces are battling ISIS in and around Mosul, a large northern city and the extremists' last major urban stronghold in Iraq.Karbala, which lies about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad, faces the desert of Anbar, a vast province which was until recently an ISIS bastion and where extremists still carry out frequent attacks.
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