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'Valley of Peace,' largest world cemetery in holy city of Najaf

Wadi al-Salam is an ancient cemetery, the largest graveyard in the world, in Iraq's Shiite city of Najaf, where most Shiite Iraqis want to be buried.
An aerial view shows Wadi al-Salam cemetery in the holy city of Najaf, as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha, Iraq, July 21, 2021.

Saleha drags herself one haunted step after another. Her black abaya brushes the ground, raising dust. She looks to the sky and cries, “Why did you leave me alone? Why did you go away, Fatima?” She touches the simple wooden coffin as it passes and says, “Why?”

The grieving woman screams with the desolation of a person who has just lost her younger sister. Fatima, 56, who leaves behind two sisters and five brothers, lived with her husband Tahseen in a brick house in Ba’quba, the capital of the Diyala province, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Baghdad. A late-stage cancer took her life in just three months.

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