Saudi Arabia has deployed 95,000 security forces to maintain order during this year’s Muslim hajj pilgrimage, Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef said on Wednesday.
The minister called on pilgrims, who come from all over the world, to leave their political and sectarian differences aside during the annual religious and spiritual journey.
“Hajj is not an area of political conflicts and sectarian differences,” Prince bin Nayef said.
“Saudi Arabia has witnessed in the past a fierce terrorist campaign which did not exclude the holy land but we were able to confront it and reduce the risks to spare the country and the people any harm,” he said
He said the hajj security measures will make use of modern technologies and equipment supplied by the Ministry of Defense, the National Guard, and the General Intelligence.
Electronic gates at the entrance of Makkah have been installed to control the flow of pilgrims and make sure that only those with hajj permits are allowed access, the minister said.
He noted that the number of pilgrims this year has been reduced due to development plans intended to expand the holy mosque.
“We are confident that both residents and citizens are aware of the exceptional circumstances in this year’s pilgrimage and will abide by the regulations to obtain permits for anyone who wants to perform hajj,” Prince bin Abdulaziz said.
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