Large numbers of Muslim pilgrims from Iran are travelling to the holy city of Karbala in Iraq instead of Mecca as tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to rise. Karbala is home to one of Shiite Islam’s holiest sites, the Imam Hussein shrine. A shrine official says he expects the number of pilgrims to reach one million this year, most of them Iranians. Last year, around 2,300 people died during a deadly stampede in Mecca, including 464 pilgrims from Iran.
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