The cemetery in Iraq's Shi'ite holy city of Najaf is expanding twice its usual rate as the nation has become a target of the Islamic State militants. The burial ground has more than five million bodies, making it the world’s largest cemetery.
The Wadi al-Salam cemetery, Arabic for "Peace Valley," has a special place in the hearts of Shi'ite Muslims, as it surrounds the mausoleum of their first imam, Ali Bin Abi Talib.
He was Prophet Mohammad’s cousin and son-in-law, and since his burial in 661 AD, bodies have burgeoned in the cemetery as families want their loved ones rest next to their imam.
Brightly decorated graves mark the resting place of Shi'ite militia fighters who have been killed fighting ISIS.
But lack of space has resulted into fierce competition in cemeteries closes to this mausoleum, with some of the most desirable grave sites being stolen, sold illegally or improvised.
Since the emergence of ISIS, which gained control of swathes of area in Iraq in 2014, about 200 bodies are buried in the cemetery on a daily basis, compared to 80-120 previously, said Jihad Abu Saybi, the cemetery’s historian.http://www.nationalhelm.net/2016/08/isi ... -dead.html