Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, is a major Muslim holiday that commemorates what Muslims believe was the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, the Biblical Ishmael, as a test of his faith from God. Christians and Jews believe another of Abraham’s sons, Isaac, was the one almost sacrificed.
The holiday, which began on Friday, marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims worldwide typically slaughter lambs and other animals to commemorate the holiday, sharing some of the meat with the poor. Violence has ebbed across Iraq, but insurgents frequently attack security forces and civilians in an attempt to undermine the country’s Shiite-led government.
Holidays are a particular time of concern for security forces. A wave of attacks shortly before another Muslim holiday in August, Eid al-Fitr, killed more than 90 people in one of the deadliest days in Iraq this year.