Hajj Commences Amid Gaza War: Over 1.5 Million Gather in Mecca

11:28 - June 14, 2024
News ID: 3488742
IQNA – Over 1.5 million Muslim pilgrims have convened in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, marking the commencement of this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, which unfolds against the backdrop of the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.


The annual event began on Friday, with participants performing the ritual of circling the Kaaba at Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

The Israeli war on Gaza, now in its eighth month, has prevented Palestinians in Gaza from making the pilgrimage due to the closure of the Rafah crossing.

Despite this, 4,200 individuals from the occupied West Bank have arrived in Mecca, along with an additional 1,000 pilgrims from families affected by the war, who were outside Gaza before the Rafah closure and were invited by King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s minister overseeing religious pilgrimages, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, has emphasized that no political activities will be permitted during the event.

This year’s Hajj also sees the arrival of Syrian pilgrims on direct flights from Damascus, a first in over a decade, signaling a thaw in relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria.

The Hajj, one of the largest religious gatherings globally, involves several days of rituals in and around Mecca.

Saudi authorities anticipate the number of pilgrims to exceed two million this year.

Read More:

Some have waited for years for the chance to make the trip, with permits allocated by Saudi authorities on a quota basis for each country.

Nonaartina Hajipaoli, 50, told the AFP news agency she felt privileged to be among the 1,000 pilgrims who came this year from Brunei in Southeast Asia.

“I’m speechless, I can’t describe what I feel,” she said.

As the Saudi summer continues, officials predict average high temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit).

Measures to mitigate heat-related illnesses, which affected over 10,000 individuals last year, include misting systems and heat-reflective road coverings.

Pilgrims have been advised to stay hydrated and carry umbrellas, with temperatures potentially reaching 48C (118F).


Source: Agencies

Tags: hajj ، Hajj pilgrims