Millions of Shias worldwide celebrate Ashura, events marred by violence (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

Millions of Shias worldwide celebrate Ashura, events marred by violence (GRAPHIC IMAGES)
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.

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.

Iraqi Shiite Muslims gather outside the shrine of Imam Hussein -one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures- during the Ashura commemorations that mark his killing on November 4, 2014. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Sawaf)

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.

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.

Pakistani Shi'ite Muslim men flagellate to commemorate Ashoura in Peshawar November 4, 2014. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)

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.

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.

Among the rituals is the tatbir which is performed by cutting oneself with a form of a sword on the head in remembrance of the innocent blood of Imam Hussein.

Some believers also hit their backs and chests with blades attached to chains.

Pakistani Shiite Muslim devotees participate in ritual self-flagellation during a religious procession marking Ashura in Quetta on November 4 (AFP Photo/Banaras Khan)

Different views on the events of the battle of Karbala and Imam Hussein’s death is one of the points that define Shi’ism and its rift with Sunni Islam.

Shi'ite Muslims tap their heads during the Ashoura ceremony held in Beirut November 4, 2014. (Reuters/Jamal Saidi)