Battle of Karbala (2007)

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Battle of Karbala (2007)
Part of the Iraq War
Date27–29 August 2007
Result Cease-fire
Iraq Iraq
Mahdi Army
Commanders and leaders
Hadi Al-Amiri Ali Sharia (POW)
Casualties and losses
52 killed (including 10 policemen)[1][2]

The Battle of Karbala began on the night of 27 August 2007 and involved fighting between the Mahdi Army, who provided security for the pilgrims,[3] and police (who were largely members of the Badr Organization) in Karbala, Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Shia pilgrims gathered in the city for the annual festival of Mid-Sha'ban. Security was high as pilgrims have been killed in previous years by suicide bombers.


Shooting first started on 27 August. The government reacted by deploying more troops to the area.

During the battle, a fight over Karbala city hall erupted between entrenched platoons of Polish and Bulgarian forces and Mahdi Army rebels. Fighting lasted for about 3 days, NATO forces were significantly outnumbered during the city hall battle; 60~ total NATO forces and about 15 Iraqi policemen against over 300 rebel irregulars and allegedly, according to Polish soldiers' accounts - unknown number of Chechen mercenaries. The forces inside city hall were relieved by Polish QRF.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki imposed a curfew on the morning of 29 August as fighting continued. Soon after, he claimed that the situation was under control.[4] The curfew ordered pilgrims to leave their devotions early and ultimately failed to stop a third bout of shooting in the evening.


The head of the Mahdi Army in Karbala, Ali Sharia, was arrested and tried over the violence. In August 2008 he was convicted and sentenced to death.[5]