Saudi Arabia plans to stem flow of illegal Hajj pilgrims
Last year, authorities sent back a total of 160,000 domestic pilgrims trying to enter Makkah and the holy sites without Hajj permits
Saudi authorities have stepped up efforts to clamp down on unauthorized pilgrims and vehicles during the Hajj pilgrimage this year.
Assistant Commander of Hajj Security Forces for the Central Area Maj. Gen. Dr. Saud Al-Khileiwi said the Director of Public Security Lt. Gen. Othman Al-Muhrij has issued instructions to the directors of police in different provinces and commanders of Public Security to have a strict vigil at checkpoints and prevent unauthorized pilgrims from entering Makkah and other holy sites.
A similar crackdown will also target fraudulent companies offering Hajj services.
Over the years, Saudi Arabia has tightened rules for domestic pilgrims who are obligated to take permit before embarking on the pilgrimage.
Unauthorized pilgrims face imprisonment, fine and deportation.
Last year, authorities sent back a total of 160,000 domestic pilgrims trying to enter Makkah and the holy sites without Hajj permits.
Security authorities have mobilized all their potentials to provide security, humanitarian, organizational and guidance services to the pilgrims.
Maj. Gen. Al-Khileiwi said an accurate security plan has been drawn up by the special forces for Grand Mosque security and those assigned for the courtyards and roads leading to the Central Area.
The plan is being implemented on the ground by deploying officers and privates to all the floors of the Grand Mosque and its gates and courtyards.
Al-Khileiwi said the security monitoring room in the Grand Mosque is provided with the latest technology including cameras in order to monitor all the passages, floors and courtyards of the Grand Mosque round the clock.
This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Aug. 25, 2016.