Arba’een is an annual, major Shia religious celebration; this year it will take place between October 29 and 31.

More than 20 million people are expected to visit Karbala to attend the commemoration with visitors predominantly from Iraq and Iran. Local residents unable to travel to the Karbala will make shorter pilgrimages to local Shia Mosques with large numbers also expected to visit the Imam Kadhim Shrine in Kadhamiyah, al-Askari Shrine in Samarra and the Imam Ali Mosque in Zubayr.

Before and around these dates there will be extensive security measures as large numbers of people travel towards Karbala. We can expect a heighted security operations during this time. Movement disruptions can also be expected in the days immediately after the end of the commemoration as large numbers of pilgrims return from Karbala.

Apart from movement disruptions and traffic congestions, extra time may be required at airports due to large numbers of travelers. Road closures and security measures may also be sporadic and implemented with short notice, which may affect travel and operations during the commemorative period.

All personnel should be aware of heightened religious and cultural sensitivities during this period when interacting with the local population.

Detailed information about road closures and security measures have not been released as yet, however previous security plans indicate that closures will fully or partially affect the key roads and bridges across the city and beyond.