Saudi Arabia: 100,000 troops to secure the Hajj

Units deployed during the annual Islamic pilgrimage include an elite counterterrorism unit, police and emergency civil defense teams

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The spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry says some 100,000 security personnel have been deployed to oversee the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage that begins on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki says among those securing the massive crowds during Hajj are members of an elite counterterrorism unit, traffic police and emergency civil defense personnel. They are being supported by additional troops from the army and national guard.

The pilgrimage comes as Saudi Arabia faces an expansion of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group attacks that have killed dozens of people this year.

Al-Turki vowed in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday that militants “cannot control a centimeter anywhere in Saudi Arabia.”

The Hajj is expected to draw up to 3 million people from around the world this year to Makkah.

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