Haj pilgrims march to Mina on journey of faith
Pilgrims circle counterclockwise holiest shrine, the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Makkah, late on September 20, 2015.
Saudi Arabia has deployed 100,000 security personnel to oversee the Haj pilgrimage.
Published: Mon 21 Sep 2015, 2:18 PM
Last updated: Sun 11 Oct 2015, 7:17 PM
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world made their way in droves to the valley of Mina to perform the Haj which begins on Tuesday and will culminate with the symbolic stoning of Satan on Friday.
The pilgrims started their journey towards the Valley of Mina soon after pre-dawn prayers, chanting Holy verses en route.
Many pilgrims left for Mina late last night itself to avoid the heavy rush of pilgrims in the morning.
Saudi authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the pilgrims in Mina, where thousands of tents are prepared to host millions of pilgrims in Mina on the outskirts of the holy city of Makkah.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has directed agencies concerned to provide all services and facilities so that pilgrims perform their rituals with ease and comfort.
According to officials here, nearly 1.5 million pilgrims had arrived from various countries till Sunday and many more are expected to join them from neighbouring countries on Monday.
They will be joined by the Saudi nationals also later in the day.
The Saudi authorities have deployed 1,00,000 security personnel for ensuring the safety and well-being of pilgrims.
High winds, 10 days ago, toppled a massive crane that smashed into the holy city of Makkah's Grand Mosque and killed at least 107 people.
Members of an elite counterterrorism unit, traffic police and emergency civil defence personnel are among those deployed to help with crowd control and safety. They are supported by additional troops from the army and National Guard.
The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for security, has installed 5,000 CCTV cameras in this city and the holy city of Madina . The feed from these cameras is monitored round-the-clock.
"We are active, we are awake," Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Al Turki said, referring to the security forces' readiness to deal with any eventuality.
The Kingdom's military and police put on a parade in Makkah last week, with security forces jumping through burning hoops and thwarting a mock terrorist attack.
The show was aimed at deterring any would-be troublemakers.
More than 3,000 Civil Defence personnel have been deployed in Mina to oversee the safety and security of the pilgrims against any emergency hazards.