Saudi Arabia beefs up security as Hajj approaches

Published: Updated:
As the Hajj pilgrimage approaches, Saudi Arabian authorities enhance the Kingdom’s security measures to ensure the safety of visiting pilgrims.

Saudi services such as the Immigration department have been preparing to receive the buses that will transport pilgrims to Mecca and other holy sites, these pilgrims have travelled from around the globe.

Security forces have been deployed at the entry gates to Islam’s holy sites, this measure is intended to block any illegal activity or infiltration by unpermitted people.

“There are nine gates to Mecca. They aim at inspecting the visitors - whether they are citizens or residents in the Kingdom- to make sure that they have their Hajj permits,” said the head of Mecca's passport department, Brigadier Ayid al-Lukmani.

Additionally, Saudi officials are warning that they will impound any vehicle that does not abide by the regulations set by the road authority; each person who flouts the rules will be fined 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666.60).

Al-Lukmani went on to describe the size of the security force deployed to help with the running of this year’s Hajj, “there is a main force that is enormous, in addition to a backup force.”

Those wishing to enter Mecca are subject to a thorough inspection process, making sure that pilgrims have the right Hajj permit.

Saudi security has upgraded its technical apparatus needed to detect fraud cases, a measure that will ensure pilgrims are who they say they are.

“This apparatus is unique. It can detect any passport or visa counterfeit,” said al-Lukmani.