At the headquarters of Saudi Arabia’s General Security forces in Mina, the press conference confirmed that nearly 1.72 mln pilgrims have been confirmed to have flown into the kingdom over the past few days whereas an additional 200,000 pilgrims from inside the country will also take part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage this year.
The press conference, headed by Interior Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, also shed light on the number of pilgrims that had been forced to turn around because of either a lack of or fake permits.
“More than 450,000 Hajj violators were returned after verifying they either lacked the proper permits or the ones they thought were legal turned out fake,” Al-Turki confirmed.
In all, Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry forces also turned away 208,236 busses carrying illegal pilgrims while 97 fake agencies were caught and fined for providing unlicensed permits to pilgrims.
The press conference comes just one day before nearly 2 mln pilgrims make their move toward Mecca where they will perform the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba on Wednesday known as the welcoming tawaf. At the Holy Mosque, they will perform the noon prayers before they head to Mina where they will spend the rest of the day in prayers before heading for Mount Arafat on Thursday, considered the ultimate rite in performing the Hajj.
To facilitate all this, Saudi forces have deployed more than 100,000 security men who will ensure safety and security across the Holy lands.
At Mina itself, 51,700 Saudi and expat employees will be employed in multiple sectors to serve the pilgrims during their stay at the tent city.