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Makkah cleared of unregistered pilgrims

9 Jun 2024 - 12:38

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that security forces had cleared hundreds of thousands of unregistered pilgrims from Makkah ahead of Haj which begins next week.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) - Monitoring: Crowd management is a major concern during the annual pilgrimage, which drew over 1.8m people last year, according to official figures.
Those turned away in recent days from the holy city, include 153,998 foreigners who travelled from abroad on tourist visas rather than the required Haj visas, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
In addition, Saudi authorities have rounded up 171,587 others who are based in Saudi Arabia but are not residents of Makkah and did not have Haj permits, SPA said.
The Haj, which begins on June 14, involves a series of rituals completed over several days in Makkah and its surroundings. Many seek to complete the rites through unofficial channels. Large crowds have proved hazardous in the past during the Haj, most recently in 2015 when a stampede during the “stoning the devil” ritual in Mina, near Makkah, killed up to 2,300 people in the deadliest-ever tragedy during the pilgrimage.
Fears of a repeat have spurred Saudi officials to crack down on off-the-books pilgrims. Over 1.3m registered pilgrims had arrived for Haj as of Saturday, Saudi authorities said./Dawn

Story Code: 291711

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