Saudi authorities have mobilised some 100,000 security and civil defence personnel to insure a smooth pilgrimage and avoid deadly incidents that marred the extremely crowded rites in the past.
“We will mobilise all our means to prevent any harm against any pilgrim or any group of pilgrims,” Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, who recently became the crown prince of the Muslim kingdom said on Tuesday.
He made the remark during an inspection tour of hajj preparations as anti-riot and anti-terrorism police paraded in front of the kingdom’s internal security tsar as police and rescue helicopters hovered overhead.
The hajj rituals begin Friday and peak on Saturday when all pilgrims assemble in the Arafat plain outside Mecca, and end with Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, which will be celebrated on Sunday.
Around 1.7 million Muslims are due to descent on Mecca from around the world while between 700,000 and 800,000 pilgrims will be coming from inside Saudi Arabia.