1.5 million pilgrims to perform 2013 Haj from Sunday

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PANA

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – At least 1.5 million pilgrims from across the world will, on Sunday, 13 October, perform the Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, one of the five pillars of Islam, sources told PANA here Saturday.

For two weeks, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are converging at mosques at Medina and Mecca for their prayers, to perform the Umra or small pilgrimage and give salutations to Prophet Mahomed (PUH).

They will also visit several historic cities of the Muslim religion, adopted by over a billion believers.

Drawing lessons from the previous years during which pilgrims died when performing the Haj, the Saudi authorities have taken a certain number of measures so that the huge gathering is performed in favourable conditions.

In that respect, 18,000 security forces and 15,000 volunteers have been mobilized, not only to see constantly to the security of pilgrims, but also to enhance free movement of people on the Mecca-Minah way as well in the mosque.

Extension work is currently underway at the Mecca mosque to accommodate up to 200,000 additional believers.

About a hundred ambulances and eight hospitals are in charge of ensuring the health constituency of the Haj.

The opening, for the first time of the Fayçal bridge, will facilitate the transportation of pilgrims from Mecca to Minah in acceptable conditions. It will be carried out by 20,000 buses.

During this period of political problems in several Muslim countries, measures have been taken to avoid demonstrations of political nature, so that the Haj can be performed within a purely religious framework.