Amidst tight security, over two million Haj pilgrims from around the world participated in the ritual of stoning of the Jamarat — huge pillars of stones symbolising Satan — in the Saudi holy city of Mina on Friday.
The pilgrims came back to Mina from Muzdalifah early in the morning to perform main rituals of Haj on Friday, which coincided with the beginning of the celebration of Eid Al-Adha by Muslims all over the world, the Saudi Gazette reported.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in Mina on Thursday night to oversee the Kingdom’s Haj preparations. He received several princes, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh and other scholars and commanders of the security forces taking part in Haj at Mina Palace on Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of the faithful attended Eid prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina.
According to the latest reports by the General Authority for Statistics, as many as 2,352,122 pilgrims performed the Haj this year – comprising of 1,752,014 Hajis who came from outside and 600,108 domestic pilgrims, the newspaper reported.
The Civilian Protection teams of the Kingdom were on alert and ready to deal with any emergency situation and undertaking any evacuation, shelter, or relief operations, an official said.
“In cases of emergency, we are supported by 32 government agencies that will help us take drastic measures to deal with any situation and ensure the maximum protection of all pilgrims. These teams are also supported by Civil Defense teams that have been distributed all over the Holy Sites,” Col. Dhafir Al-Asmari explained.
Tunnels and pedestrian walkways are being closely monitored by advanced technology devices. All areas in the holy sites including the Jamarat Bridge, train stations, and pathways have security officers on the ground who are ready to protect the safety of pilgrims and jump to the rescue of anyone, he added.
Intervention teams have been spread across the holy sites that would be in charge of management of crowds and be ready to support any other teams on the ground. The teams would closely monitor all activities in Mina, the Saudi Gazette said.
The Jamarat Bridge is specially monitored with intervention and other teams to supervise the movement of pilgrims and provide medical help to anyone who needs it.
Nine women pilgrims of various nationalities delivered babies during the Haj, according to the director of the Maternity and Child Hospital In Makkah, Anas Saddayo.
He said the well-equipped hospital provided all the required facilities and is extending high-quality services of international standards to the pilgrims, visitors and residents.
An Algerian woman pilgrim gave birth to a baby girl in the hospital, while a Yemeni woman pilgrim gave birth in Arafat.