1.5 million pilgrims expected to perform hajj this year

The first batches of pilgrims for this year’s hajj arrived on Thursday in Jeddah and Madinah from the Indian subcontinent

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As many as 1.5 million external and domestic pilgrims are expected to perform hajj this year, the Saudi Central Hajj Committee was told.

The committee met here under the chairmanship of Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and listened to various reports on the arrangements being made to receive the guests of Allah.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives of a number of public and private agencies involved in hajj services, discussed various issues pertaining to hajj.

The meeting also discussed the hajj plan of the Makkah municipality which focused on the general cleanliness of the city and holy sites, supervising the markets, organizing stalls and kiosks and maintaining civic utilities consisting of tunnels, bridges, toilets, public parks and others.

The municipality said that more than 23,000 workers will be doing the cleaning of Makkah and the holy sites.

The first batches of pilgrims for this year’s hajj arrived on Thursday in Jeddah and Madinah from the Indian subcontinent. The first flight was from New Delhi that landed at Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah.

It was followed by a flight from Pakistan while the first flight which landed at the hajj Terminal of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) was from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A total number of 143,370 pilgrims from Pakistan and 136,020 from India will perform hajj this year. The first batch of pilgrims from non-Arab African countries arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Saturday from South Africa.

As many as 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims will perform hajj this year as the guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

They represent the families of the martyrs in the occupied lands, said an official with the guest pilgrim program.

More than 7,000 staffers, representing 27 government and private agencies, have been engaged in implementing the hajj operation plan during the 75-day hajj season. According to the plan, all the lounges of the hajj terminal will be converted into arrival lounges from Aug. 4 to Sept. 5 and departure lounges from Sept. 17 to Oct. 16.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on August 10, 2016.

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