Saudi security, service sectors intensify Hajj efforts

A helicopter on patrol to maintain the security and safety of Hajj pilgrims in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 24 August 2017
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Saudi security, service sectors intensify Hajj efforts

MADINAH: The security and service sectors involved in serving pilgrims in Madinah have intensified their efforts to provide the best services possible for visitors of the Prophet’s Mosque.
More than 750,000 pilgrims reached the city up to Tuesday. All general security branches are participating in the implementation of the security plan for the Hajj season. Security forces in Madinah are receiving pilgrims coming by land and directing them to their accommodation.
Security forces responsible for the Prophet’s Mosque organize entrance and exit day and night, and pilgrims’ movement in the mosque, its courtyards and on its roofs, in coordination with the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque and other relevant bodies.
New security posts have been established in various locations in Madinah to provide better services and security for pilgrims.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque provides services to pilgrims in the pre-Hajj season by caring for worshippers and visitors and meeting their needs in the mosque.
During the last period of the pre-Hajj season, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah received more than 1,700 flights carrying more than 600,000 pilgrims from different nationalities.
The airport operates at a similar pace in the post-Hajj season, in preparation for the departure of pilgrims to their home countries.
Passport personnel at the airport facilitate their arrival procedures as fast as possible.
The General Administration for Water Services in Madinah maintains a constant supply of water, and more than 6,000 medical staff are on hand to serve pilgrims.
Moreover, there are 700 patrols working around the clock to maintain the safety of all pilgrims, said the commander of security patrols, Col. Mohammed Al-Suhaimi.
The head of traffic in Makkah, Col. Bassem Al-Badri, said more than 3,000 vehicles were impounded on charges of smuggling pilgrims.
“We have secret traffic patrols on the four squares of Makkah to catch pilgrim-smuggling,” he said, adding that the roads toward the areas around Al-Haram are closed for half an hour during each prayer to maintain pilgrims’ safety and control the flow of vehicles.
Assistant commander of Hajj security forces for traffic affairs, Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Dabbayb, said: “We can track the movement of vehicles and deal with any breakdowns.”
Security forces are working to facilitate the movement of patients, people with special needs and families of martyrs, he added.
The assistant commander of Hajj security forces for security affairs, Maj. Gen. Munir Al-Jabreen, said 29 police stations are maintaining pilgrims’ safety.

Plan in place against rioting at Grand Mosque
There is a plan in place to deal with any riots at the Grand Mosque, security commanders said.
The head of the Security and Control Command Center in Hajj, Maj. Gen. Hassan Al-Zahrani, said the center is fitted with a TV observation system that operates round the clock and has 5,900 state-of-the-art cameras. Drones will be used around the mosque to help implement security plans, he added.
The commander of the forces responsible for security at the mosque, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ahmadi, said the tawaf (circling) area has been expanded to increase the number of pilgrims this year.

— With input from Tariq Al-Thagafi.


Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

Updated 16 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

  • Guests laud King Salman’s efforts to unify ranks
  • Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety

MAKKAH: King Salman received thanks from guests at Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for welcoming and supporting pilgrims. They also thanked him for hosting them so that they can perform Hajj rituals. 

The king’s guests praised the services provided for them from the moment they arrived in the holy lands. This underscores the depth of the Saudi experience in dealing with crowds and successfully hosting millions of pilgrims each year.

Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety.

“The expansion projects in the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites, as well as the readiness of all medical and security teams, constitute strong evidence of Saudi Arabia’s capacities and ability to organize and manage the crowds with every Hajj season,” he added.

Ismailov pointed out that Muslims represent 70 percent of the population in Tatarstan, and that it is the first country in the region to adopt Islam as a state religion since 922.

Sheikh Mustafa Jusufspahic, the grand mufti of Belgrade, in Serbia, said that King Salman’s hosting of pilgrims from all over the world continues a tradition of the leadership of this blessed land assisting and unifying Muslims. It continues the path of good and giving by the Kingdom’s leaders toward Islamic work in the world, accounting for its prestigious position in the Muslim world, he added.

Jusufspahic expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his great gesture that enables Muslims to perform Hajj easily and conveniently. He praised all services offered in the program, which is supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Mohammed Amin, a professor from Ethiopia, who is making his first visit to Makkah, commended King Salman’s invitation to Muslims from all over the globe. He also saidthat the Ethiopian people were well aware of the financial and cultural support provided by the Kingdom.

The imam of the Central Mosque in Ethiopia, Ibrahim Khalil, expressed his admiration for the warm reception he and his delegation received upon their arrival, their speedy entry into the country and the journey to their residence.

Guinean Islamic preacher Mohammed Idris said the infrastructure and the scale of the preparations in Makkah reflect the tremendous efforts from all sectors there. “The Kingdom endeavors to develop organization and management of the Hajj season every year, a fact highly acclaimed among Muslims in Guinea, who consider Saudi Arabia to be the heart of the Islamic world,” he said.

Professor Bassim Berniavorates, from the faculty of medicine at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia, said he was happy he had the opportunity to perform Hajj for the first time in his life, and was eager to meet Saudi people, to learn about their customs and traditions, and to visit popular markets that reflect the historical richness of Makkah.

He added that the Bosnian people were grateful for Saudi Arabia’s support throughout history, which has enabled them to overcome obstacles and crises and achieve their aspirations in building a civilized and democratic nation.

Bassim, a professor of anesthesia at the University Hospital in Sarajevo, noted that the program helped to extend bridges of communication with the world. “The Bosnians became more familiar with the Saudis and proud of this cultural fusion in the holiest parts of the earth,” said Bassim.

Dr. Mekhtbakh, from the Sports Academy in Kyrgyzstan, said that by visiting the holy land he had achieved a life-long dream. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his generous patronage and keenness to host Muslims from all over the world.