Rabat - So far, 1.4 million pilgrims have landed in Saudi Arabia since the start of the 2017 Hajj season, representing a 25 percent increase in arrivals compared to the same period in 2016, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Rabat – So far, 1.4 million pilgrims have landed in Saudi Arabia since the start of the 2017 Hajj season, representing a 25 percent increase in arrivals compared to the same period in 2016, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
The press agency added that Mecca is expected to receive a total of 2 million people in this year’s season.
According to the Saudi’s General Directorate of Passports, 1,313,946 Muslims arrived by air, while 79,501 arrived by land. Sea arrivals increased by 33 percent, representing 12,477 pilgrims compared with 7,748 pilgrims in 2016.
The 2017 Hajj season has been marked by the return of Iranian pilgrims after Iranians boycotted the Haj in 2016.
In the 2015 pilgrimage season, hundreds of people, including Iranians, died in a stampede during the pilgrimage. Following the incident, Iran blamed the Saudi authorities for the lack of security.
The Hajj pilgrimage of 2015 suffered two major accidents, claiming hundreds of lives.
Amid ongoing political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the number of Qatari
pilgrimage-goers is expected to number 400. Earlier this month, Saudi King Salmane Ben
Abdelaziz Al Saoud ordered the reopening of the Salwa land border with Qatar in order to ease the process of pilgrims transit.
The Hajj minister said in a statement that Saudi Arabia is fully equipped to control the expected crowds in this year’s pilgrimage season.
The number of pilgrims coming from abroad to perform Hajj rituals reached 656,748 in 2016 –641,896 by air, 7,748 by land, and 7,104 by sea – Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.