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Devout Shiite Muslims are left covered in blood as they flagellate themselves with swords and chains during mourning procession to mark day of Ashura in Iraqi holy city of Najaf

Devout Shiite pilgrims were left covered in blood as they struck themselves with swords and chains during the mourning procession to mark the day of Ashura in the holy city of Najaf. 

Ashura, on the 10th day of the mourning month of Muharram, commemorates the killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD - the defining moment of Islam's confessional schism.
Typically, millions of Shiites from around the world flock to the golden-domed shrine where Hussein's remains are buried, to pray and cry, shoulder-to-shoulder. But with coronavirus numbers spiking across the globe, this year's commemoration is subdued. 
Some followers took part in a self-flagellation ritual used during the public processions, with small groups of the mourners covered in blood in the city of Najaf. And thousands of tearful pilgrims wearing gloves and face masks flooded Iraq's holy city of Karbala.



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