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Eid celebrated in Muslim world, USA, Europe

NEW YORK/LONDON/JAKARTA: Millions of Muslims Wednesday celebrated the festival of Eid, marked this year by a series of deadly attacks in many countries. Muslim minorities also celebrated Eid with large congregations in USA, UK, Canada and many European countries. Saudi Arab, Gulf, Middle East countries, Africa and Iran also celebrated Eid today whereas Indonesia, Malaysia,...

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 6, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jul 6, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago

NEW YORK/LONDON/JAKARTA: Millions of Muslims Wednesday celebrated the festival of Eid, marked this year by a series of deadly attacks in many countries.

Muslim minorities also celebrated Eid with large congregations in USA, UK, Canada and many European countries.

Saudi Arab, Gulf, Middle East countries, Africa and Iran also celebrated Eid today whereas Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh will mark the day on Thursday.

The three-day Eid al-Fitr festival traditionally means family gatherings and the exchange of gifts and sweets after a month of fasting from dawn until dusk.

Saudia Prayers Pkg 06-07

But a wave of attacks in Muslim countries -- from Turkey and Bangladesh to Iraq and Saudi Arabia -- have made this year's Eid a sombre occasion.

Tens of thousands of worshippers gathered for Eid prayers at Islam's second-holiest site, the Prophet's Mosque in the Saudi city of Medina, just two days after a suicide bombing that killed four security guards in a nearby carpark.

Addressing the crowd, Sheikh Abdelbari al-Thabiti said the bombing was an "odious crime" carried out by "a group that no longer respects the rites of Allah or the sanctity of the Prophet's Mosque."

In Baghdad, Eid was overshadowed by a massive suicide car bombing on Sunday that ripped through the Shiite-majority Karrada district and left at least 250 dead.

On Wednesday Iraqis placed thousands of candles along sidewalks and in the charred remains of a building at the site of the blast.

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Across the border in war-torn Syria, the army said it would observe a 72-hour nationwide ceasefire coinciding with Eid.

But one person was killed and another wounded Wednesday morning when artillery fire hit a rebel-controlled part of second city Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Rebel forces fired back at regime-held parts of the city with mortars, it said.

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In Bangladesh on Wednesday, an eerie silence pervaded the diplomatic quarter of Dhaka five days after the IS-claimed killing of 20 hostages at a popular cafe.

The run-up to Eid usually sees malls packed with shoppers. But on Wednesday many of the area's popular restaurants and shopping centres remained closed.

In Pakistan, worshippers attended Eid al-Fitr prayers at mosques in Karachi and other cities.

PAKISTAN-RELIGION-ISLAM-EID

Hundreds also gathered at an open-air mosque in the Nigerian capital Lagos to pray.

A seven-year insurgency by Islamist group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has left at least 20,000 people dead and more than 2.6 million homeless.

Shamy Noshy El-Shamy, an imam who led the prayers, condemned violence between Muslims, saying the Medina attack happened "because of lack of real knowledge about Islam."

"Real islam is not all these bombings, all these fightings. Islam is a religion of peace. Islam means peace," he said.

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About 150,000 people also attended morning prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in annexed east Jerusalem, according to the Islamic Waqf organisation which is responsible for the mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.

But movement restrictions prevented some Palestinians from visiting their families to mark the holiday.

Israeli soldiers on Wednesday blocked vehicles from leaving the West Bank city of Hebron, under lockdown since July 2 after two Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks nearby.

Security measures were also tight in Egypt, where an IS affiliate based in the Sinai Peninsula has waged an insurgency that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

In Cairo, thousands of families gathered for mass prayers and relaxed in public gardens and malls. – Samaa/AFP
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