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Saudi ready to welcome 2 million foreign pilgrims

Saudi ready to welcome 2 million foreign pilgrims

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Aug 28, 2017 - 17:01

MAKKAH (Pajhwok): The Saudi Arabia government says nearly two million people from all over the Muslim worldinfo-icon have arrived in the kingdom to perform this year’s hajjinfo-icon pilgrimage, which is due to begin on August 30.

The annual pilgrimage to Makkah, is mandatory for physically and financially capable Muslims to perform at least once in their lives as one of the five pillars of Islam.

The Saudi Arabia has to date welcomed 1.497 million pilgrims and in total, around two million people from across the globe are expected to visit the Holy City of Makkah, making it the largest annual international gathering.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman are responsible for organizing the huge logistical undertaking that will run until Hajj ends on the 4th of September, 2017.

A total of 1.86 million Muslims performed the Hajj last year, when the Saudi government had reduced the hajj quota for international pilgrims due to the expansion of the Masjid al-Harm, the world’s largest mosqueinfo-icon.

The Saudi Hajj Ministry says 20 percent more pilgrims have arrived in the kingdom to perform this year’s hajj. The ministry says so far one million and 600,000 pilgrims have arrived in Makkah and nearly 100,000 are in Madina and they will reach Makkah in the next few days.

The Saudi government says 2.5 million people from other countries and two million local residents would perform this year’s pilgrimage and all preparations in this regard have been completed.

The governor of Makkah and head of the central hajj commission, Prince Khalid al-Faisal said thousands of security forces have been deployed to maintain security for the pilgrimage.

He said security posts have been established along major highways and security measures tightened in Makkah, Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifa.

The Saudi interior ministry said 15000 security cameras have been installed in various areas as part of security measures for the pilgrimage.

The Saudi Information and Culture Ministry has invited 80 journalists from across the world to cover the pilgrimage.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has set up dozens of mobile healthinfo-icon clinics and arranged ambulances in the service of the pilgrims.

Muslims from around 80 countries, including 30,000 people from Afghanistaninfo-icon, have arrived in Makkah for the rituals.

Afghanistan deputy hajj and Islamic affairs minister Abdul Hakim Munib told Pajhwok Afghan News that in total 30,260 Afghans, including 8,210 womeninfo-icon, had arrived in Makkah for hajj.

He said so far seven Afghan pilgrims had died of nature causes in Saudi Arabia. Three of them died in Medinainfo-icon and four in Makkah.

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