JEDDAH: Officials said that Haj remained safe from any terror attacks, as security forces were geared to deal with any incident.
The official spokesperson of the Interior Ministry, Mansour Al-Turki, said that no terrorist acts occurred during the Haj stressing that security forces were ready to confront any attempt to harm the Kingdom and the guests of Allah.
In the daily press conference held by the parties participating in Haj, Al-Turki recalled the remarks of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, the deputy premier and interior minister and head of the Supreme Haj Committee, that security forces are following those who have links to terrorist organizations in order to foil any schemes they plan against pilgrims or sites in the Kingdom.
On another issue, the ministry said it hosted more than 500 people, members of families of security force martyrs to perform Haj this year at the expense of the Ministry of Interior.
Al-Turki said that this annual tradition is a duty and not a favor by the Ministry of Interior that is conducted according to the directives of the crown prince. Beneficiaries of this program include those attending Prince Mohammed bin Naif Center for Advice, Counseling and Care.
“They are given the option of celebrating Eid Al-Adha with their families or conducting Haj with them,” Al-Turki explained.
He added that pilgrims ascending to Mina has started at Ishaa prayer Tuesday night and continued till the early hours of Wednesday afternoon, stating that all rituals were conducted under strict arrangement of the general security forces.
He added that pilgrims have arrived in Mina and are residing in the allocated camps in preparation of ascending mount Arafat. “Some pilgrims are heading directly from Makkah to Arafat and will keep ascending during different times of the day according to their wishes,” Al-Turki explained.
He said that the numbers of pilgrims in Al-Masjid Al-Haram have substantially decreased as of Wednesday morning and fewer cars are entering Makkah.
He stressed that more citizens and residents abided by Haj rules and regulations in comparison with previous years, where unlicensed pilgrims used to attempt to sneak in during the eighth of Dhul Hajih thinking that security forces would be too busy with transferring pilgrims to the Mashaer.