Saudi mobilizes security forces in run-up to hajj

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Keeping several million Muslims safe during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia is no easy task.

Thte kingdom appears to be leaving nothing to chance this hajj season, deploying 95,000 security forces during the annual religious pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina.

Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef said on Wednesday that hajj security measures this year will make use of technologies and equipment supplied by Saudi's various defense units, including the National Guard.

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.

Prince bin Nayef called on pilgrims, who come from all over the world, to leave their political and sectarian differences aside during hajj.

“Hajj is not an area of political conflicts and sectarian differences,” he said.

The number of pilgrims this year has been reduced due to development plans intended to expand Makkah’s grand mosque.

Last year, a total of 3.1 million people from around the world took part in the annual religious pilgrimage.

Able-bodied Muslims are expected to make the hajj pilgrimage once in a lifetime.

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