Iraqi Shi'ites mark holy day amid heavy security

STORY: Processions of men beating drums marched and beat their backs with steel chains in an act of mourning for the killing of Imam Hussein.

Thousands of volunteers helped complete security checks, directed by the holy shrine's security department in central Iraq.

Ashura rituals are usually carried out in religious sites in different locations marking the holiest day on the Shi'ite Muslim calendar.

It falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar month of Muharram and commemorates the death of Imam Hussein, one of the Prophet Muhammad's grandsons, who was buried there after he and his followers were massacred in the battle of Karbala in A.D. 680.