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Middle East s Why Shiite pilgrimage to Karbala had special meaning this year

Over the years, the Shiite pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq – bigger than the hajj – has been a frequent target of Sunni militants, including ISIS. But the faithful keep coming, and ISIS is in retreat.

Scott Peterson/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

For Iraq, guaranteeing the safety of millions of Shiite faithful on their annual ​pilgrimage to the shrine of a revered saint in Karbala has always been a monumental challenge.

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