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Saudi security, service sectors intensify Hajj efforts

A helicopter on patrol to maintain the security and safety of Hajj pilgrims in Makkah. (SPA)
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.

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