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Saudi Arabia Removes Unauthorized Pilgrims from Makkah Ahead of Hajj

Saudi Arabia made an announcement on Saturday, detailing the removal of hundreds of thousands of unauthorized pilgrims from Makkah ahead of the upcoming annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Citing concerns over crowd management, Saudi officials emphasized the significance of ensuring a smooth Hajj experience, particularly given that the pilgrimage drew more than 1.8 million Muslims last year.

The individuals turned away from Makkah in recent days include 153,998 foreigners who entered the city on tourist visas instead of the required Hajj visas, as reported by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). Additionally, authorities rounded up 171,587 individuals residing in Saudi Arabia but lacking residency in Makkah and Hajj permits.

Commencing on June 14, the Hajj is one of Islam’s five pillars, obligatory for all Muslims who have the means to undertake it. It involves a series of rituals spanning at least four days in Makkah and its vicinity in western Saudi Arabia.

However, many individuals opt for unofficial channels to fulfill the rites due to the high cost and limited quotas associated with obtaining formal permits and travel packages for Hajj pilgrims from each country.

Saudi Arabia’s recent measures aim to prevent a recurrence of the 2015 stampede tragedy in Mina, near Makkah, which claimed the lives of up to 2,300 people during the stoning of the devil ritual.

According to regional authorities in Makkah, as of Saturday, over 1.3 million registered pilgrims had arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, indicating the ongoing preparations and logistical arrangements for the sacred journey.

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