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Saudi Arabia security forces hold military parade in Mecca in preparation for Hajj

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Saudi Arabian security forces marched through a parade ground in Mecca on Sunday as pilgrims around the world started to converge towards the Muslim holy city for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

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Police forces held a mock demonstration of a pursuit and capture situation, while paramedics mimicked quick response times for air lifting to safety.

Saudi Arabian security forces marched through a parade ground in Mecca on July 3, 2022 as pilgrims around the world started to converge towards the Muslim holy city for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (Screengrab / Reuters)
Saudi Arabian security forces marched through a parade ground in Mecca on July 3, 2022 as pilgrims around the world started to converge towards the Muslim holy city for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (Screengrab / Reuters)

Thousands of pilgrims started arriving in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on Friday, among some one million Muslims expected to attend the 2022 Hajj pilgrimage season after two years of major disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every able-bodied Muslim is supposed to undertake it at least once in their lifetime.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, allowed back foreign travelers this year to perform Hajj. Only a few thousand Saudi citizens and residents attended the annual pilgrimage in the last two years as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the global economy and curtailed travel.

However, authorities have said only one million people can join the 2022 season, less than half of pre-pandemic levels, and access is restricted to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunized against the virus and do not suffer from chronic diseases.

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