1.4mn pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia before Haj
August 24 2017 07:42 PM
Allah prescribed Haj once in a lifetime upon the Muslims
More than two million people are expected to participate in this year's Haj.

AFP/Riyadh

More than 1.4mn Muslims have so far arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Haj, authorities said on Thursday, with the annual pilgrimage marked by the return of Iranians after Tehran's boycott last year.
More than two million people are expected to participate in this year's Haj, a pillar of Islam that capable Muslims must perform at least once in their lives, which starts next week.
"So far 1,313,946 pilgrims have arrived by air, 79,501 by land, and 12,477 by sea -- an increase of 33% compared with the same period last year," the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, citing passport officials. 
The Haj has been clouded by the Gulf crisis.
The Haj ministry said it was equipped to handle the additional crowds after the completion of expansion works at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the most revered site in Islam.
More than 1.8mn faithful took part in last year's Haj.
But Iran's 64,000 pilgrims stayed away for the first time in three decades after tensions between Riyadh and Tehran boiled over following a deadly stampede during the 2015 pilgrimage.
An agreement was reached earlier this year to allow Iranians to take part in the Haj.
Iran and Saudi Arabia will soon exchange diplomatic visits, Tehran said this week, in a possible sign of tensions easing after the two countries cut ties last year.



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