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Explosive detectors planned at Holy Haram

MAKKAH — Sophisticated metal and explosive detectors are being planned to be installed at all gates of the Grand Mosque to prevent entry of banned materials inside the Holy Haram, Lt. Col. Fawaz Al-Sahafi, Director of Security Guards Department in the Grand Mosque, said here Wednesday.

At present, he said, a workforce of 180 personnel in five shifts are physically manning all the entry points to the mosque.
Al-Sahafi said a new arrangement is under consideration which allows security personnel to monitor the to and fro movement of the worshippers while employees in civil clothes would prevent them from carrying food items other than those allowed by the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

Meanwhile, authorities have introduced various measures to ensure safety and security during this year’s Haj, including cameras at pilgrims’ residential buildings, traffic initiatives and crowd-management plans inside the Grand Mosque, said Lt. Gen. Saeed Bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, Director General of Public Security.

In an interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Al-Qahtani said the traffic plan will make the city safer and ease traveling for visitors and pilgrims.

There is currently a ban on private cars carrying Umrah pilgrims from entering Makkah, aimed at reducing traffic congestion on routes leading to the Central Area around the Grand Mosque, he said.

Development projects in the Central Area include public transportation, which will further reduce the number of private cars in the area, Al-Qahtani said. There will also be more security in the crowded Tawaf area during Haj.

He said the crowds will be monitored and there will be intervention to prevent stampedes, jostling near the Black Stone, and crowding at doors, stairs, elevators and bridges leading to the Tawaf area. The plans also focus on the organized entry and exit of pilgrims from the Grand Mosque.

Source: Saudi Gazette