As the Hajj pilgrimage approaches, Saudi Arabian authorities enhance the Kingdom’s security measures to ensure the safety of visiting pilgrims.
Saudi services, such as the Immigration department, have been preparing to receive the buses that will transport pilgrims to Mecca and other holy sites. These pilgrims have travelled from around the globe.
Security Forces have been deployed at the entry gates to Islam’s holy sites. This measure is intended to block any illegal activity or infiltration by unpermitted people.
“There are 9 gates to Mecca. They aim at inspecting the visitors - whether they are citizens or residents in the Kingdom - to make sure that they have their Hajj permits,” said the Head of Mecca's Passport Department, Brigadier Ayid al-Lukmani.
Additionally, Saudi officials are warning that they will impound any vehicle that does not abide by the regulations set by the road authority. Each person who flouts the rules will be fined 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666.60).
Al-Lukmani went on to describe the size of the Security Force deployed to help with the running of this year’s Hajj, “there is a main force that is enormous, in addition to a backup force.”
Those wishing to enter Mecca are subject to a thorough inspection process, making sure that pilgrims have the right Hajj permit.
Saudi Security has upgraded its technical apparatus needed to detect fraud cases, a measure that will ensure pilgrims are who they say they are.
“This apparatus is unique. It can detect any passport or visa counterfeit,” said al-Lukmani.
Meanwhile, Commander of Hajj Security Forces, Major-General Saeed Al Khileawi, told Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper on Thursday that Security Forces would stand firm against any groups seeking to harm the Hajj rituals.
The Commander said that there would be many precautionary measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and smooth flow of people to holy sites. “Security personnel would be deployed everywhere to maintain security and manage traffic and movement of pedestrians,” he explained.
Saudi officials announced earlier that 1.8 million pilgrims from abroad are expected this Hajj season, adding a new respiratory virus related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that has infected 2 people does not pose a threat to the pilgrims.
Source: Al Arabiya; Al Sharq Al Awsat