A string of bombings and shootings marred the Ashura celebrations across the Muslim world – the main Shia holiday during which believers impassionedly gash their bodies with swords to show their grief for the suffering of Imam Hussein.

In Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia the holiday was marred by a shooting that killed at least eight Shias in Eastern Province late on Monday.

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Shi’ite Muslims flagellate themselves during a Muharram procession to mark Ashoura in Kolkata November 4, 2014. (Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

The Saudi Interior Ministry said that security forces on Tuesday shot dead two suspected members of an armed group behind the attack.

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A series of suicide bombings targeting Shia worshipers in Baghdad killed at least 16 people on Monday ahead of the celebrations in Iraq, medical officials said.

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A Shi’ite Muslim reacts as he takes part in a Muharram procession to mark Ashoura at Ajmer in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan November 4, 2014.(Reuters/Himanshu Sharma)

Islamic State militants who have gained control of a large part of the country and consider Shias heretics have reportedly claimed responsibility for this attack and the Sunday car bombing that killed at least 18 in the capital.

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Shia Muslims worldwide are holding ten day celebrations marking the holiday which commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, in VII century.

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Lebanese Shiite Muslims take part in a self-flagellation procession during the Ashura commemorations that mark the killing of Imam Hussein -one of Shiite Islam’s most revered figures- on November 4, 2014 in the southern Lebanese city of Nabatiyeh.(AFP Photo/Mahmoud Zayyat)

Imam Hussein died in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD, the event which has been retold during the celebrations or reenacted as a lively theatrical performance since the XIX century.

Read more at RT News

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