31 August, 2017
More than 100,000 members of the Saudi security forces will help protect the 2 million worshippers expected to participate in the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage this week, but no specific militant plots have been detected, a senior spokesman said on Tuesday.
Asked if the authorities had detected any specific plots against this year's hajj, he said: "Not at all".
This year the five-day holy pilgrimage is set to take place between Wednesday August 30 (today) and Monday September 4.
Within the parameters of the constraints of sequence, time, and location, coupled with the numbers of the pilgrims to be hosted, Saudi Arabia makes every effort to serve the pilgrims each year, while learning from past experiences to improve for the next Hajj.
Saudi Arabia later opened its border crossing with Qatar, allowing 1300 Qataris to perform the annual ritual. It's a huge event in terms of mass gathering when Muslims are dressed in simple white clothes are perform their rituals for next 10 days.
The pillar is obligatory for both men and women as long as they are physically fit or financially able to do so.
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They have deployed more than 100,000 security personnel to protect the almost two million pilgrims, who are scheduled to travel to the holy shrine on Wednesday (31 August), the interior ministry announced in a press conference on Tuesday.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, and it also provides the largest number of pilgrims for the hajj.
Bangladeshi pilgrim Mohammad Nasser, 53, said the Grand Mosque housing the Kaaba is congested and busy, but believes overall the Saudi government has managed the crowds well so far. They all agreed that Arafat Day is a doorway from Allah to bless mankind and forgive the sins they have committed in the past year.
At 67 the oldest in her group, she sat in her wheelchair in Islam's most holy spot.
At the start of the Eid al-Adha feast, Muslims then take part in stoning ceremonies, where they toss pebbles at walls to represent the symbolic "stoning of the devil".
He said "NAHCON would not relent in its efforts to ensure that the pilgrims got the best possible services during the entire exercise".